With almost a month to go for the AC local to start its actual operations, the Railway Board has agreed to let First Class commuters – both holding monthly season passes and daily tickets – use the service. This would mean that over 4.25 lakh people on the Western Railway (WR) can travel inside the AC local plying between Churchgate and Virar.
“The difference of fare between First Class Season ticket and AC Monthly Season ticket shall be collected for the entire month irrespective of days left in First Class monthly passes. The validity of the same shall be as per the validity of First Class monthly pass,” said a circular issued by the Board.
This facility will be extended for season pass holders through booking counters by Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS). “We are almost done with making changes in the ticketing software,” said an official from CRIS.
Of the 37 lakh daily commuters on WR, an average 11.31 per cent hold First Class season passes. Further bifurcating it, 74.60 percent of commuters travel on monthly season pass while rest of them use quarterly, half-yearly and yearly season passes.
The ticket checker will collect the difference of fares without any penalty after entering the AC local coach. Sources said that they are looking at providing hand-held devices to TCs so that they can swipe debit/credit cards to avoid the issue of giving change while dealing with cash.
“We will be collecting difference of fares from those holding monthly season tickets for First Class and are travelling in AC local which also has monthly pass facility. It will be difficult to calculate the same for quarterly, half yearly and yearly and so these commuters will have to pay fine,” explained a WR official.
This will be on trial basis till June until when the discounted rates at 1.2 times of fares will be applicable. Right now there are two TCs travelling inside 12-car AC train who are checking tickets. Until now on an average, everyday, nearly 3,800 commuters travels in the AC local. Ever since AC local started, Mumbaikars have been demanding to allow First Class passengers to travel in them.
The Indian Railways are also studying the possibility of compartmetalisation of AC local in the near future. If this is thought off then the AC local would have coaches with cushioned seats, sun blinders etc while the other General coaches will be similar to the existing ones. At present there is separate compartment for women commuters in the AC rake which is at the ends of the train.
Under Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) 3-A; 210 AC rakes worth Rs 17859 crore would be procured.
The railways are studying the option of attaching three AC coaches in the regular 12-car train which would give option to commuters in a single rake.
3,800 USERS DAILY
Until now on an average, nearly 3,800 commuters travels in the AC local every day. Ever since the trials started, Mumbaikars have been demanding to allow First Class passengers to travel in them