The Indian railways is running 392 special festival trains from October 20 to November 30. These new trains are special trains keeping the festival rush in mind as regular passenger train services have been suspended during the lockdown. The Congress has accused the railways of “hiking” the train fares by 25 to 30 per cent. For example, sleeper class travel between Patna and Mumbai costs Rs 670 but special train ticket costs Rs 920.
Why have fares gone up?
The railways said there has been no unscheduled hike in fares. As per rules, fare for special trains running during peak demand seasons like festival season, summer holiday season is different and higher than regular mail or express time-tabled trains, it has said.
Is senior citizen concession withdrawn?
The railways offers concessions to 53 categories including those for senior citizens, students, sportspersons, medical professional etc. Some of the concessions stand withdrawn due to the Covid-19 pandemic as a move to discourage people from travelling. At present, students and people with some medical conditions are only eligible for concession. But the railways have clarified that it is not withdrawing the other concessions. The decision is under review as normal passenger trains remain suspended.
After a nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 25 to arrest the spread of Covid-19, the railways first started Shramik special trains and a few special passenger train in May. In the following months, more special trains were added to the list. The festival trains, too, come under this category and, hence, the regular fares and concessions remain suspended.