New Delhi [India], February 24 (ANI): The Ministry of Railways on Wednesday said that slight hike in the ticket fares of short distance passenger trains were done to discourage people from unnecessary travel.
"COVID-19 is still around and is worsening in some states. Visitors from many states are being subjected to screening in other areas and discouraged to travel. Hike in price is being seen as a pro-active measure of railway to prevent crowding in trains and stop COVID-19 from spreading," the ministry said.
"With a view to regulate rush at stations and in trains, passenger trains are being charged slightly more fare than pre-Covid times," it said.
The railways had to stop running of regular trains due to COVID-19 related nationwide lockdown on March 22 as a measure to counter the spread of coronavirus.
Indian Railways 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 pandemic, Indian Railways has operationalised almost 65 percent of the Mail/Express trains and over 90 percent of suburban services as compared to the pre-lockdown times. Total 1250 Mail/Express, 5350 suburban services and more than 326 passenger trains are presently in operation average on a daily basis.
Short distance passenger trains running presently constitute less than 3percent of total trains. More such trains are in the pipeline in consultation with the state governments. Such short distance trains require inter-state discussions and concurrence of all concerned.
Keeping in view the prevailing COVID-19 situation, after introduction of Mail/Express trains, Railways is gradually operationalising passenger trains taking all necessary precautions and making additional efforts.
The situation is being constantly monitored to ensure restoration of services in keeping with the protocols necessary to be followed during COVID times. (ANI)