Mumbai suburban trains have incurred a loss of Rs. 3,394 crore in three years ending 2014-15 due to highly subsidised fare structure, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said.
Expressing concern over the excess load in Mumbai suburban railway section, he said the Centre is discussing with Maharashtra government for construction of an elevated corridor to decongest the traffic. “Mumbai suburban railways and other local trains in Chennai and Kolkata are incurring losses. The reason is highly subsidised fare structure,” Prabhu said.
Total loss incurred by Mumbai local trains during the three years is Rs. 3,394 crore, he said.
Despite running to their full capacity, the Minister said that Mumbai local trains are incurring losses due to subsidised rates as commuters are given subsidised monthly, quarterly and yearly tickets which are more subsidised than the second-class ordinary fares.
The other reason is that the rail earnings are not keeping pace with the increase in expenditure every year, Prabhu added. Replying to another query on decongesting the traffic in local trains, the Minister said, “For Mumbai, suburban railway is lifeline. Maintenance and strengthening local trains is our priority. The present capacity is not sufficient to carry the load. Very soon, we are going to set up an elevated corridor.”
The matter is being discussed with the state government, he said while suggesting that there can be “dual pricing system” when elevated corridor starts. Intra-state railways is the responsibility of the state government.
However, the Centre has been taking the responsibility for historical reasons, he added. Replying to another supplementary on assistance to rail passengers, the Minister said the government has started a new campaign to provide help to passengers in need. “However, it is a mammoth challenge to address all queries as 27-28 lakh people travel every day. We are trying our best,” he said, adding that the government is thinking of a single website for all railway-related queries.