No own berth for kids on 50% fare from April 22
A small change in railways’ child fare rule would ensure availability of 20 million additional confirmed berths or seats in a year for other passengers without the state-run transporter spending a single penny , while adding over `525 crore a year to its coffers.
The calculation lies in the decision to charge full fare for children aged 5-12 if a separate seat or berth is sought.Till now, children in this age group were entitled to a separate seat or berth at half the fare.
Now, the half rate is still available, but without a seat or berth. In such cases, parents or accompanying passenger will have to share their reserved space with the kids. Children under five years of age will continue to enjoy free ride (without berth) in trains and the new rule will come into effect on April 22.
Though the move could adversely affect the travel budget of families, a senior railways official said the decision has potential to release 20 million confirmed berths to other travellers that include senior citizens and women.
Once the new rules are in place, the transporter calculates that availability of 20 million additional berths a year will be equivalent to running 20,000 additional trains annually and 54 additional trains every day . “The move would also help in generating additional revenue of around `525 crore a year,“ said an official.
During 2014-15, the number of child passengers aged 5-12 who opted to avail berths on half fare was around 2.11 crore.
Justifying the move, a railways official said, “The deci sion will help in augmenting passenger transport capacity till the time the sanctioned works for creating additional tracks are completed to facilitate running of more trains.“
However, there will be no change in the rule for child fare of unreserved tickets which means the rate for children of 5-12 years for unreserved class will continue to be half of the adult fare.
“There will be no effect on common train passengers,“ said an official, adding that the number of child passengers in unreserved class were 6.20 crore during 2014-15.
Railways will carry out necessary changes in the reservation form so that the passenger can indicate their option for requirement of full berth or seat for child or not.
dinathanthi newspaper 26/03/2016 : http://www.dinathanthiepaper.in/firstpage.aspx