First class pass to be valid for AC local train rides

First class pass to be valid for AC local train rides

Western Railway has proposed to make existing first-class passes valid for air-conditioned trains in the face of growing discontent over the difficulty in buying tickets for AC locals. All that the commuters will have to do is pay the difference to the ticket checker present on board the AC trains.

The decision has been taken at the highest level and members of the Railway Board’s Commercial Department are scheduled to meet their counterparts from the Finance Department in New Delhi today to take a final call. Sources said the new facility could be made available in as early as two weeks’ time.

The Finance Department has already agreed to let commuters upgrade their first-class passes into season tickets for AC locals. “Even if a commuter has, for instance, just 15 days validity on his pass, it will be converted into AC season ticket upon payment of the difference in amount,” said a source.

Every AC compartment will soon have a ticket checker who will issue first-class pass holders tickets for single rides. “Ticket checkers will be issued hand-held machines for this. Initially, they could even issue tickets manually,” said an officer who did not wish to be identified. The 12-car AC train services were launched on December 25. For the first five days, it ran between Churchgate and Borivali. The route was extended to Virar from January 1. In the first 10 ten days, around 40,000 people travelled on the train.

While so far the AC train runs only on weekdays, a Saturday service will be introduced in two weeks’ time, Division Railway Manager, WR, Mukul Jain said on Monday.

The single trip fare for an AC local is 1.2 times the price of a first-class ticket for a normal train. While many officegoers are ready to pay more money for a little comfort and convenience, they don’t like the idea of waiting in long lines to buy tickets. They don’t want to buy an AC pass at the moment because the frequency is poor.

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