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Trains drop special tag; ticket fares revert to pre-pandemic prices

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Trains drop special tag; ticket fares revert to pre-pandemic prices
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The Railways on Friday issued an order discontinuing the special tag for mail and express trains. Ticket prices have also been reverted to pre-pandemic fares with immediate effect.

Ever since trains resumed after the covid-induced lockdown, the Railways have only been running special trains. It started with long-distance trains, but now even short-distance passenger services are being run as special trains. The fares were also increased to allegedly "discourage people from avoidable travels".

Trains will now be operated with their regular numbers, and fares would revert to pre-covid prices, the Railway Board informed in a letter to the zonal railways. The ticket fares of special trains and holiday special trains are marginally higher.

"In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, all regular mail/express trains were being operated as MSPC (mail/express special) and HSP (holiday special). It has now been decided that the MSPC and HSP train services, included in the Working Time Table, 2021, shall be operated with regular numbers and with fares as applicable for the concerned classes of travel and type of train, as per the extant guidelines. This issues with the concurrence of Passenger Marketing Directorate of Railway Board," the order dated November 12 said.

However, it hasn't been specified when the zonal railways are required to revert to pre-Covid regular services.

"The zonal railways have been instructed. While the order is with immediate effect, the process will take a day or two," a senior official said.

"With this more than 1,700 trains will be restored in the next few days. The first digit will now not be zero as was in the case of special trains," another official said.

The curbs introduced during the pandemic, such as temporary restrictions on concessions, bedrolls and meal services, would continue despite these relaxations. The Railway revenue had seen substantial growth with the operation of special trains and no concessions. It registered a 113 per cent increase in earnings from the passenger segment during the second quarter of 2021-22 as compared to the first.

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TAGS:Indian railwaysTrainsCovid travel
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