The Railways would not fix a ceiling price for fares of trains to be operated by private players, and it would be “market-driven”, as per railway board chairman VK Yadav
Private train operators may have free reign in deciding ticket prices as per demand, railway board chairman VK Yadav said on February 12.
The Railways would not fix a ceiling price for fares of trains to be operated by private players, and it would be “market-driven”, Yadav told the Times of India. He added that the two Tejas Express’ presently operated by IRCTC did not have fixed fares either.
Notably, in September 2019, the proposal for private train operators mentioned a “regulator to decide maximum ceiling on fares to prevent a sudden spurt in prices, especially during festive seasons like usually seen with airfares.”
Bid parameters for the first 150 trains (over 100 routes) are being finalised by an inter-ministerial panel. Yadav said bids could be invited as early as March, and the private trains running by 2022.
These operators will have to design, procure, finance, operate and maintain the trains for a contracted period of 30 years. Railway rakes could be leased out if a request is made, Yadav said. On whether no export policy or Make in India norms would be applicable for this exercise, he said no decision has been taken yet.
He further added that the railways’ infrastructure augmentation would over the next five to seven years allow 1,500-2,000 more trains, including freight corridors, to ply.
Yadav said a notification on “user fees” could also be expected soon.
This “very small” fee would be included in passenger ticket prices for the use of redeveloped stations and would be enforced for any particular station after its development work is complete and would further be dependent on the footfall. Redevelopment bids have already been called for Amritsar, Nagpur, Gwalior and Sabarmati railway stations and tenders for 50 more would be floated soon, Yadav said.The Railway Board is also set to go corporate by February-end starting with re-designation of Yadav as Chairman and CEO. The Cabinet has approved the board from a nine-member entity to five, as a few are set for retirement by June 30.
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