Fare hike from 2011

Your local suburban train ticket will be more expensive from 2011.

This planned hike is meant to offset the Rs 200 crore loss the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) has suffered in its implementation of phase 1 of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP).

As part of the MUTP, the MRVC and the railways have introduced newer locals, widened tracks at various locations, and added new lines between Borivli and Virar, and beyond Thane.

“It’s been a long time since ticket prices were increased,” said P.C. Sehgal, chairman, MRVC. In 2006-07, then Union Railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav had reduced fares by a rupee.

Commuters in the city have already paid, in the form of the surcharge on their tickets, Rs 80 crore annually, which goes toward repaying the WB loan.
The WB’s schedule on repayments suggested the surcharge on ticket prices, hiked in 2004 by 8 per cent, be doubled by September 2006, and tripled in 2009.

MRVC sources said letters have already been written to the railway ministry asking it to revise ticket rates, but observers say to comes down to mustering political will.
Under the ongoing MUTP phase II, the railways are incurring a loss of Rs 650 crore. “If we are not able to recover money through ticket prices, it will be difficult to repay the Rs 1,900 crore loan on phase II,” said the MRVC official.

Source: Hindustan Times, Mumbai edition.

I do not know what to say. Surcharge is definitely needed to repay the loan, but the kind of “progress” that we are seeing right now does not justiify the surcharge hike. Here is what happens to the rakes just two months after they leave the factory:



Rust takes over the rake, making one wonder whether the original colour is white or red?

(First two photos courtesy Aadil)

I do not understand why we should pay for such crap. According to an official document of MRVC, the cost of shell of one coach is Rs 1.15 crores (11.5 million) on an average. There may be slight variations depending on coach type. This cost excludes costs of electricals and electronics. It is simply preposterous. The finishing of coach shells is so bad that I get the impression as if some child has built them. Coaches of this quality just cannot cost 1.15 crores. A Volvo B9R bus costs approximately Rs 80-85 lakhs (8 million). This cost includes everything-engine, airconditioning etc. And the bus comes with world class (truly world class. Not MRVC’s standards of world class) body, perfect fit and finish, excellent interiors, highest quality of materials, a superb paint job and a good design. MRVC rakes have none of these features. Still the coaches cost 30 lakh more than Volvo! Yes, I am fully aware that this is not an apple to apple comparison. Still I found it necessary to give this comparison, as it shows that the quoted cost of MRVC rakes does not tallywith the actual rakes. The quality remains low in spite of the high costs.


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