Choke Ride

Railway authorities are in negotiations with the Transport Ministry to urgently up its fares after Sunday’s fuel price hike. Railway authorities are in negotiations with the Transport Ministry to urgently up its fares after Sunday’s fuel price hike. An official from the Transport Minister office said on Monday that negotiations to raise fares were currently underway, but was unable to provide details of the talks.

Railway officials in an earlier interview said fares need to atleast double just to compensate for the fuel price hikes since the last fare revision in 2001 when diesel retailed at Rs. 26 a litre.

The last fuel hike in early May pushed railway’s costs up to Rs. 1 per km per passenger from about 78 cents earlier, but charges remain at an average 20 cents.

The commuter service by end 2004 made a Rs. 2.6 billion loss, with the Treasury reluctantly bankrolling the operation.

Railway officials say they need to increase their revenues, in addition to recovering costs, for monies for maintenance and capital expenditure.

Consecutive governments however, despite criticism of its service have not a