Home Bangladesh Railway train fares increasing from Apr
Bangladesh - March 17, 2024

Railway train fares increasing from Apr

Staff Correspondent : The fare is going to increase for all types of passenger trains with an additional distance of 100 km. Basically, this fare is being increased by canceling the concession (discount) facility for traveling more than 100 km. In addition to this, steps have been taken to increase the income by adding additional charges to the coach fares for the fixed number of trains.
Bangladesh Railway has already received approval from the top level of the government in this regard. Calculation of station-to-station commercial distance has already been handed over to Sahaja (JV), a private operator engaged in ticketing for effective fare enforcement. The fare hike process has started online as well as offline (manual process). The new fare is expected to come into effect next month. In that case, it is more likely to be effective from April 1, according to sources related to the railways.
Railway officials say that as the fares are lower compared to road and waterways, revenue has not increased in recent years despite the increase in passenger numbers. Railways cannot come out of the circle of losses due to high expenditure against income. The train fare was last hiked in 2016. After that, the operating expenses of the railway including fuel and parts and staff salaries increased, but the company’s rental income did not increase much. Several initiatives were taken to increase railway fares, but in the end, it was not implemented due to political considerations. However, due to revenue-expenditure imbalance, the railways could not come out of losses.
According to railway sources, the expenditure of Bangladesh Railways in the financial year 2022-23 was Tk 3,307 crores. Although at the same time it earned Tk1,783 crore rupees. According to this, the Railways spent Tk 1,524 crore more than its income in the last financial year. The company was earlier in net profit only in 1998-99 financial year. At that time the net profit of the organization was Tk18 crore 47 lakh 91 thousand. After that, the company made continuous losses for almost two and a half decades. In this situation, the railway is going to take various steps to increase the operating income. In addition to increasing revenue from passenger fares, attention is also being paid to increasing routes and transporting goods.
Earlier in 2012 and 2016, railways had increased the fare. In October 2012, the rent was increased from a minimum of 5 percent to a maximum of 110 percent. Later in February 2016, the railway fare was increased by 7-9 percent. After about seven years, in the latter half of 2023, initiatives were taken to increase revenue by imposing postage charges on various bridges and viaducts of the railways. In continuation of this initiative has now been taken to withdraw concessionary fares for passengers traveling more than 100 km. Apart from this, additional fares (reservation charges) are being added class-wise to the additional coaches added to various trains. Expectations of the railway stakeholders, if the fares are increased through the withdrawal of concessional facilities and imposition of reservation charges, the annual revenue of the railways will increase by about Tk 300 crore.
On the condition of anonymity, a top official of Bangladesh Railway’s operations department told, “The government has already invested more than Tk1 lakh crore in the development of railways. There are plans to take the railway services to international standards by implementing various projects. However, the government is somewhat reluctant to increase the railway fare. However, the losses of the railways are increasing every year. For this reason, the Railways has to walk on the path of increasing the revenue by withdrawing the existing facilities.
Distance-based concession facility on railway fares was introduced in 1992. Those concerned say that at that time, the passenger and goods transportation of the railway was less than the capacity. Distance and section wise concession facilities were introduced at that time to attract passengers and goods. Out of this, the sectional concession was withdrawn in 2012. Due to the concessional facility based on distance, fares for passenger and goods transport on long-distance journeys are set at lower rates as compared to distance. Except for the Dhaka-Cox’s Bazar new railway route (Dhaka-Cox’s Bazar), the concession facility remains in place for the distance of more than 100 km in all trains across the country. In this case, the concession rate is 20 percent for the distance from 101 to 250 km. And for 251 to 400 km the concession rate is 25 percent.
The railway authorities say that the fare of the non-AC bus between Chittagong and the capital Dhaka is Tk680. However, the fare for the same facility in the intercity train is Tk 345. In addition, the fare for Dhaka-Chittagong by local, mail or express train is between Tk 120 to Tk 150. In addition to creating additional pressure on railway journeys, railways are deprived of the revenue they deserve even though the tickets are black marketed. Last October, the process of determining the commercial distance was started by imposing potage charges at 25 km per km on various railway bridges and 5 km per km on viaducts or railway flyovers. In this, the commercial distance increased along with the actual distance on the railway and the revenue of the railway increased more than usual.
In addition to increasing passenger demand, additional coaches are often added to various trains in view of the demand for group tickets from various public and private institutions and individuals.In addition to increasing fuel costs, additional manpower has to be employed.Railways get some extra income if there is demand for these extra coaches in both the Up and Down journeys.But if the demand is one-way (one-way) tickets remain unsold on the return journey.For this reason, reservation service charge of 20 per cent for Shobhan class and 30 per cent for Snigdha and other higher classes will be levied on tickets of additional coaches attached through advance application or coach tickets attached at the time of increased demand. For this reason, a proposal was made to be raised in the form of a summary to the Prime Minister from the Ministry of Railways on February 13.
It was signed by the Minister of Railway MinistryJillul Hakim and secretary Dr.Md.Humayun Kabir.Then Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina signed the proposal on March 2.After the Prime Minister’s approval, Salahuddin Ahmed, Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Railways, wrote to the Director General of Railways on March 7 to withdraw the distance concession facility for passenger transport and impose reservation charges on the sale of additional coach tickets. When asked about the plan to increase income by withdrawing concessional facilities, Chief Planning Officer of Bangladesh Railway SM Salimullah Bahar told, “The fare is much lower than the competitive market according to the quality and service of Bangladesh Railway.”
Railways make losses even though people benefit from it.It is necessary to increase the fares to make the railways more dynamic and bring them on par with road vehicles.But for the time being, the idea of increasing the income by withdrawing the existing concessional facilities without increasing the basic rent is going on.After the implementation of various modernization plans of the railways, it will be possible to reduce the losses by continuously increasing the income.

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