The newly announced fare hike by the BJP government which has been partially withdrawn had prompted commuters to buy quarterly season ticket and yearly season ticket in advance. Huge crowds were witnessed at several stations of Mumbai as commuters stood in queues for hours to renew their monthly season tickets. For the third day in a row, commuters brooked heat, sweat, and aching legs, as they formed long queues across the city railway counters to renew their passes. Until now nobody used to purchase the half yearly and yearly season passes but now commuters are buying these passes to save money.
Following the announcement of fare hike on Friday, the officials clarified that commuters could renew their passes before June 25 according to the old rates. This sent the commuters scurrying to the nearest ticket counters.
Among the different types of passes, there was a demand for Half-yearly (HSTs) and Yearly Season Tickets (YSTs).
On June 22, 2013, of the total of 32,277 season tickets, 28, 640 were MSTs, 3,561 QSTs, 67 HSTs and 9 YSTs on WR. In comparison on June 22 this year, of the total 34,455 tickets, 18,117 were MSTs, 10, 342 QSTs, 2,964 HSTs and 3,032 YSTs.
Due to huge commuter turnout at stations like Churchgate and CST, the Railways had deployed Railway Protection Force (RPF) staff for crowd control. “RPF staff was deployed at various railway stations to prevent protesters from disrupting services,” said a WR RPF official.
Sharat Chandrayan, chief public relations officer, WR, said, “We have opened additional counters at Churchgate, Dadar and Andheri, where footfalls are more.”
The administration extended duty hours of most ticket booking clerks to ensure smooth renewal of passes.
The BJP and Shiv Sena MPs have met Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda and urged him to have a relook on the fare hike issue. BJP leader Kirit Somaiya has said the railway minister will look into the problems faced by Mumbaikars on account of the steep revision of season tickets tariffs.
“The Railway Minister has assured us that the feelings of Mumbaikars will be considered,” said Somaiya.
The railways have partially rolled back the railway fare tariffs and it won’t be applicable for distance travelled up to 80 km. Railway officials said that there would be a blanket hike of 14.2 percent across all passenger fares including First class fares. However, the earlier calculation made for determining proposed suburban season pass fares and daily tickets have been withdrawn.
Sachin Sawant, MPCC spokesperson said, “The MPCC will continue its protest until the railway fares are rolled back completely. We will continue with the rail roko abhiyaan. The Modi government is trying to salvage itself by taking such unsubstantial decision due to the pressure imposed by Congress.”