The NDA government has given the commuters the first bitter pill as mentioned by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The newly formed government which had come to power with slogan like “Acche Din Aane Wale Hai” has given passengers a sign of bad days to come by announcing a fare hike of 14.2 per cent and freight charges by 6.5 per cent. The new fares will be applicable from June 25. The suburban train passengers are likely to be hit the most as the fares will be charged on the basis of 30 single journeys instead of the 15 single journeys. As per the revised fares, a Rs 85 monthly season ticket (II Class) will now cost Rs 150, while a Rs 190 monthly pass will be priced at Rs 480.
Mumbaikars are already upset with the fare hike as it will only overburden them. According to them in the BJP’s dictionary, good governance means taking some tough economic decisions and throwing the common man’s life out of gear. Most of them are commuting in the overcrowded trains during peak hours. They are willing to pay extra charges if the railways introduces more services, lay more lines, upgrade the infrastructure in stations like construction of more foot over bridges, water tanks, toilets, ticket counters, ATVM machines and coupon vending machines etc.
Questions are being raised about women’s safety as incidents of molestation and thefts are rising each passing day. The railways are yet to install CCTV in women’s compartments. What is the purpose behind hiking fares if railways are not improving the services? Even men too have been attacked while commuting in suburban trains. The rail fare revision has come at a time when the common man is already grappling with the rising prices of essential commodities. The railways had already increased the passenger fares twice last year.
The local trains are the lifeline for over two crore people of the Mumbai metropolitan region. The city local services consist of three lines — the Western, Central and Harbour lines, ferrying together over 70 lakh people per day.
Similarly, the monthly season pass of Rs 795 for the first class has been revised to Rs 1,930. Likewise, a first class commuter with a monthly pass of Rs 1,740 will now have to shell out Rs 2,120 more for the same journey.
The fare hike was condemned by the opposition parties like Congress, NCP and dabbawallahs. Political parties have asked the BJP government to withdraw the fare hike. They also criticised the government for its inability to control rising prices, surging dollar rates and onion prices. People had voted for the BJP as the party had promised to control inflation. Now they are asking if the saffron party too is treading on the same path followed by the Congress then what was the need for a change of government at the centre?