Railways has clarified that slightly higher fares for passenger and other short distance trains were introduced to discourage people from avoidable travels and those which are not most necessary. These fares are fixed at unreserved price of mail and express trains for the same distance. Citing the sudden spike in number of COVID-19 cases in some States, the Railways said, little higher price is be seen as proactive measure, to prevent crowding in trains and stop Covid from spreading.
Indian Railways had stopped the running of regular trains due to Covid related nationwide lockdown in March last year and now is constantly increasing the number of passenger carrying trains in a graded manner. Full restoration of regular services of passenger trains, to pre Covid times, is to be considered keeping in view a range of factors and operational circumstances.
During challenging times of Covid, Indian Railways has operationalized almost 65 percent of the Mail and Express trains and over 90 percent of suburban services as compared to the pre lock down times. Short distance passenger trains running presently constitute less than 3 percent of total trains. More such trains are in the pipeline in consultation with the State Governments. Such short distance trains require interstate discussions and concurrence of all concerned. The Railways noted that Passenger operations have always been subsidized by railways. Normally, Railways bears a loss on every journey by a passenger.