The Indian Railways will soon introduce a token user fee from the passengers at 700-1,050 railway stations across the country who will be taking trains from the busy stations. The decision by the Railways will lead to a marginal increase in the total fare of the tickets.
In a press briefing on Thursday, Railway Board Chairman V K Yadav stated that the national transporter will soon start levying a “user fee” as part of train fares for stations that have been redeveloped and major stations with high footfall to generate more revenue to provide better facilities for passengers.
How much do passengers need to pay as a user fee?
According to railways, the user will initially be charged at the congested railway station in big cities. At present, there are 7000 railway stations in the country, out of which about 10-15% of the stations will be charged user charges. That means, user charge can be levied in about 1,050 railway stations. However, it is not mentioned how much a passenger need to pay as a user charge but it has been clarified that the fee will be modest. The railways will issue a notification to charge user charges at stations that are being redeveloped or have been redeveloped.
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NITI Aayog chief executive officer Amitabh Kant said on Thursday that the objective is to offer 50 stations for redevelopment by the end of 2021. A pre-fixed and affordable user charge will be notified by railways and will ensure no burden on the passenger. “We are looking at a close to Rs 1 trillion investment. RFQ (request for qualification) for 10 stations has been floated. Eight stations (including Gwalior and Surat) received overwhelming participation (from private investors),” Kant said at a virtual press conference.
Earlier, the implementing agency of the station redevelopment project- Indian Railway Station Redevelopment Corporation (IRSDC) Limited handed over MP’s Habibganj station and Gujarat’s Gandhinagar station to private parties for development under the PPP model to complete both the station redevelopment projects by December 2020. So far, 94.05% of civil work has already been completed at Gandhinagar railway station, while 90% of work has been completed at Habibganj station. Additionally, for the redevelopment of three railway stations- Anand Vihar, Chandigarh, and Bijwasan stations, commercial tenders have been floated and engineering, procurement, and construction contracts have been awarded.