Senior citizens are miffed about removing their concession that they used to enjoy before Covid pandemic. They are complaining to the railways about not reviving 50% concession on rail tickets especially in this holiday season. The Central Railway and Western Railway together run more than 960 trips of Summer special trains.
On May 1, the Railway Board Chairman and CEO V K Tripathi clarified that the Indian Railways does not intend to revive offering concessions to senior citizens travelling in trains. Tripathi made it clear that people should let go of this mentality of enjoying freebies and concessions. This however has not gone down well with the senior citizens who feel cheated.
“The senior citizens barely travel. The only constant earning is the provident fund or any other source of monthly income. If one had to travel out on a vacation then long distance trains were a blessing as the senior citizens could avail concessions. The Railways should restart offering concessions to senior citizens,” said Nagrajan, a resident of Mulund who is associated with an organisation that caters to the needs of Senior Citizens.
The railway authorities claim that almost 5-7 percent of total passengers travelling, especially inside long distance trains, are senior citizens. “The Indian Railways continue to offer concessions to politicians who are Members of the Houses. Their quota gets allotted to their near ones. Why cannot their concession be withdrawn? If a decision is taken then all concessions need to be withdrawn,” said D Godbole, an octogenarian who is a resident of Badlapur and member of Railway Passenger Association.
The senior citizens claim that they are missing out on travelling in Summer Special trains as they are forced to pay higher fares. Earlier, Indian Railways used to grant concession in fares to all classes of Mail, Express, Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains, For males, the minimum age should be 60 years while for females the minimum age should be 58 years to be categorized under Senior Citizens quota. The element of quota for men was 40 percent and 50 percent for women.
“The railways should reinstate the concession provided to senior citizens as they are already burdened with so many other expenses. At least there was respite as far as travel in trains was concerned,” said Madhu Kotian, president, Mumbai Railway Pravasi Sangh.
This comes at a time when both Central and Western Railways are running Summer Special trains. Keeping in mind the heavy rush and long waiting list on the regular trains, 968 special train services are being run by the Central and Western Railways for various destinations. This includes 574 trips by CR and 394 trips by WR for special train services.
The CR is operating these summer specials from and to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, Kurla Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, Panvel, Pune and Nagpur among major railway stations that would operate from April to June 2022. Similarly, 21 pairs of summer specials, with more than 394 trips have been notified by the WR to meet the extra demand. Of these, 11 pairs of trains cater to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, while there are 4 pairs of trains for Delhi and beyond.