The Ministry of Railways on Wednesday clarified that higher fares for passenger and other short distance trains were introduced to discourage people from avoidable travels and those which are not most necessary.
"Recently there have been some reports in the section of media about higher price being charged from those travelling in passenger trains over small distances, we would like to inform that these slightly higher fares were introduced to discourage people from avoidable travels and those which are not most necessary.
"Covid is still around and in fact worsening in some States. Visitors from many States are being subjected to screening in other areas and discouraged to travel. Slightly higher fares on trains running presently constitute less than 3 per cent of total trains. " the national transporter said in a statement.
Little higher price is be seen as proactive measure of Railways to prevent crowding in trains and stop Covid from spreading, the ministry further said.
"With a view to regulate rush at stations and in trains, passenger trains are being charged slightly more fare than pre-Covid times and a close watch is being kept on its patronisation. The situation is being constantly monitored to ensure restoration of services in keeping with the protocols necessary to be followed during Covid times."
The ministry said it's constantly increasing the number of passenger carrying trains in a graded manner. Full restoration of regular services of passenger trains, to pre Covid times, is being considered keeping in view a range of factors and operational circumstances.
Health situation of states, and the views of the state Governments will be taken into account before getting into normal operations.
During challenging times of Covid, Indian Railways has operationalised almost 65 per cent of the express trains and over 90 per cent of suburban services as compared to the pre-lockdown times.
Total 1250 Mail/Express, 5350 suburban services & more than 326 passenger trains are presently in operation average on a daily basis.
"Short distance passenger trains running presently constitute less than 3% of total trains. More such trains are in the pipeline in consultation with the State Governments. Such short distance trains require interstate discussions and concurrence of all concerned," said the ministry.