Awaiting rollback of rail fare hike, Mumbai's commuters say BJP betrayed them

Queues continued to be long at season ticket counters even as political parties staged protests against rail fare hike.

hidden June 25, 2014 07:52:39 IST

By Virpratap Singh

The Shiv Sena gave the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Central government its first lesson in coalition compulsions on Tuesday when it literally forced a partial rollback of the railway fare hike, but that wasn't enough for harried commuters ion Mumbai who were still trying to skirt the impact for the first month by queuing up for season tickets before the fare hike kicks in.

Awaiting rollback of rail fare hike Mumbais commuters say BJP betrayed them

Congress workers protest outside CST on Tuesday. Photo by Virpratap Singh

On Tuesday, when reports said 50,000 season tickets had been issued by Western Railway's suburban section in Mumbai the previous day, the number of people standing in queues to get their season tickets at the cheaper rate continued to be large.

Even as political parties swiftly took advantage of this situation with the Congress Party organising a large demonstration that marched into CST station in South Mumbai chanting slogans of “Modi Sarkar Hai Hai”, the Mumbaikars were the worst hit, with the hike threatening to skew home budgets of even middle class residents.

At CST, commuters said they felt betrayed by the government.

Rajesh Kavatkar believes it’s a terrible decision. "Yeh sahi nahi. This is not right. A 1.25-fold hike or even 1.5-fold hike is understandable, but doubling the price of tickets is just not right," he said.

Vishali, while not a regular user of the trains, is now confident that she won’t be buying a season pass any time soon. “It was a convenience factor, rather than standing in line every time, that I’d buy a season ticket.” She believes that while she might not be impacted tremendously by this, daily wage earners and especially families with children using the train will find this to be a tremendous burden.

The fare increase has affected the young and the old, with the lines cluttered with college going students. “My pass is currently Rs 300, after the fare increases it’ll be almost Rs 720, I can’t afford that,” said a student from a prominent college in South Mumbai.

The decision has resulted in a lot of people being disappointed with the new BJP government.

“A known evil is better than an unknown evil,” said Anita, who works in the commercial district. “We’re struggling more as a result of this. Look at us right now, we’re all delayed even more with having to stand in line!”

The biggest question among the people affected by this increase is simply that there seems to be no apparent reason for the hike. They also point out that there haven’t been tremendous improvements in the rail system or stations. Whatever might have been done certainly does not merit this huge increase, commuters agreed.

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