The MRVC has mooted this suggestion in a recent proposal submitted to the Railway Board.
Mumbai: The Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) has proposed charging commuters staying in south Mumbai more for train tickets as they can afford it and charging those staying in the suburbs less. The MRVC’s reasoning is that people coming from suburbs cannot afford housing in south Mumbai, which is why they commute to south Mumbai from far off places.
The MRVC has mooted this suggestion in a recent proposal submitted to the Railway Board. The MRVC’s proposal is aimed at decreasing the Rs 1,400 crore odd losses incurred by the railways for running the Mumbai suburban trains on both Central and Western Railways. Even a slight increase in ticket fares leads to an uproar in the city.
An official said, “Right now a person travelling from Charni Road pays Rs 5 to travel to Churchgate. We have proposed that this be doubled, while there will be a 10 per cent increase for commuters who travel for more than 20 km.”
He added, “People who travel to areas like Dahanu, Karjat and Kasara are white-collar workers. They are living in these suburbs because they cannot afford housing close to their offices, which are usually located near south Mumbai.”
Officials said the proposal should be looked at as changing the status quo, that the richer have to pay more because they have high incomes. The official said, “We are aware that people will feel that this might not be fair, but everyone knows that people travel for as far as two-and-a-half-hours to get to offices and have a certain amount they save from their salaries for their passes.”
The Mumbai suburban fare has always been a sensitive issue among commuters as, according to recent numbers, it affects more than 75 lakh commuters combined on both the Central and Western Railways.
Nirmal Jain, a former member of the divisional railway users consultative committee who himself stays near Charni Road, felt that the proposal is “ridiculous”. “It should not even be given a second glance,” he said.
“The officials should know that there a lot of people who live in south Mumbai who are as middle class as a man living in Dahanu. Generations of people live in south Mumbai in small 10x10 chawls in Dadar, how will it be fair to ask them to pay double?” Mr Jain asked.