The massive impact of the fare hike on Mumbaikars, especially since over 70% suburban commuters use season passes, will ensure that both western and central railways will see their earnings rise by anything between 40 to 50%.
As per calculations made by city-based railway officials based on the sale of tickets till June 20, CR's suburban earnings could see a rise from Rs751.17crore in 2013-14 to Rs1104.56 crore in 2014-15. This rise of Rs353.39 crore corresponds to a 47% rise in earnings. CR officials said that the cumulative earnings for Mumbai division from suburban as well as long-distance trains will see a rise of Rs797.95 crore – from Rs2392.74 crore last year, to Rs3190.69 crore for the current year. CR's earnings from season passes is expected to go up from Rs373.45 crore to Rs662.35 crore, a jump of 77%.
On WR, the earnings from suburban passenger ticket sales are expected to go up by 52% from Rs678.73 crore in the last financial year, to Rs1035 crore for the current one. The season pass earnings have got the biggest boost, with earnings expected to go up from Rs366 crore to Rs700 crore, a jump of a whopping 91%.
As reported earlier by dna, the suburban set-up of both CR and WR get funds for passenger amenities like ticket windows, foot overbridges and toilets, to the tune of Rs15-20 crore, whereas building an FOB costs almost Rs10 crore. "Look at the appalling infrastructure at the stations. For women, it gets worse because of narrow, crowded FOBs and inadequate number of ladies restrooms," said Richa Padte, a Thane resident.
Bhandup-resident Manish Chaturvedi, said, "Projects in the city like Churchgate-Virar elevated corridor and the new lines between CST-Kurla Parel Terminus, are stuck. So Mumbaikars might agree to pay more, but the railways should also ensure they get more in terms of comfort. It is a shame that India's commercial capital still doesn't have an air-conditioned suburban corridor," said Chaturvedi.
The logistical loophole:
Meanwhile, both CR and WR officials said that there were longer queues at season booking counters to buy passes since Saturday, with Mumbaikars trying to take advantage of the logistical loophole. Officials added that technically, a ticket-checker could charge a commuter the difference of fares if one bought a season pass at current rates, since the rules of all fare hikes being date-specific applies to long-distance and suburban trains equally. The rule was made since the advance booking period for long-distance trains is 60 days and railways didn't want to lose out on revenue. "It is possible to replicate this in suburban commuting too, as per the rules, but it is almost impossible to implement in Mumbai. Infact, the railway ministry will have to decide on what to do with people who might just go and book half-yearly or yearly season passes between today and June 25 on current rates," said a senior railway official.