Indian Railways to set to give free hand to private players on ticket pricing

The move will, however, help to strengthen the economy while there are chances of misuse by the firms.

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New Delhi ( Metro Rail News ) – This was clarified by Piyush Goyal at a recent pre-application meeting that government is not going to interrupt the private firms in fare pricing. The move comes when the government is planning to give out 109 routes to run as many as 151 trains to private players for 35 years, according to the reports. The national transporter while replying to different queries said that the private train fares will be market-driven and the government will not interfere in that matter.

According to sources quoted in the report, Indian Railways may need approval from the Cabinet or even Parliament sanction to make this provision legally tenable. Since under the Railways Act, only the Union government or the Railway Ministry can decide fares for passenger trains in India, they said.

According to officials, the fares for the upcoming private trains are expected to be way steeper than existing train services as there is no upper limit for fares and it has a steep project cost because of the expensive, modern rolling stock. The private operator of the train is free to sell train tickets through its website. However, it has been reported that the back end of the website will be tied to the railway passenger reservation system of Indian Railways.

Also, the national transporter did not come out with technical specifications for the upcoming private train sets that it seeks the private players to bring in. According to sources quoted in the report, technical specification contemplated for private operators of the trains is that it requires maintenance after running a distance of 40,000 km or for 31 days.

The matter arises speculations whether we are moving to a fully privatised railway system which will be governed by the rules of market. However, it will depend upon the success of these 151 trains which will decide the future of privatisation of Railways in India.

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