Responding to Poor Patronage Central Railway plans Second Class in AC local

Responding to the poor patronage witnessed for its AC Local Trains introduced recently on the trans-harbour corridor last month, Central Railway has proposed having two classes in AC Local trains. Having two classes (First and Second) will allow tweaking the fare structure to draw passengers towards the air-conditioned service.

CR runs only 12 AC services a day. These services have caused lot of resentment as they were introduced by replacing non-AC trains. Subsequently, CR has not introduced any more AC trains though it has three AC rakes and the fourth is on its way to its carshed -rolling out AC services means removing nonAC ones due to lack of path.

CR’s principal chief operating manager DK Singh has written to the railway board member (traffic) to make a case for rationalisation of fare structure. In a letter dated February 17, Singh wrote, “The patronisation of AC rakes is not encouraging. The reasons are excessive fare compared to second class non-AC travel, skeleton AC services being run on certain identified routes, thus depriving complete migration from non-AC to AC.”

Singh also submitted a detailed note to justify the proposal. “Fare of AC EMU is 1.3 to 2.6 times that of first class fare. 10% of the total suburban travel is first class and 90% by second class. For 90% of second class passengers, the difference in fare between second class fare and AC class is prohibitive. Thus migration to AC is not forthcoming.”

Singh suggested that existing AC rakes be modified with earmarked first class and second classes. “With this combination, migration of second class passengers can be made possible… Second AC fare will be higher than non-AC but lower than existing first class non-AC or present AC class. This reasonable increase will be acceptable to passengers as compensation towards Air Conditioned and risk-free environment of safe travel.

First class will be provided with cushioned seats, mobile charging points.” Regarding the fare, he suggested that Delhi Metro fare structures with a minimum of Rs 10 and maximum of Rs 60 be made applicable for second class AC. For first class AC, he suggested the present fare structure be retained. He also suggested the second AC fare be increased gradually as more rakes are introduced.