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ISLAMABAD: Following an increase in fuel prices, the Pakistan Railways (PR) has announced an increase of five percent in fares for all mail/express, intercity, shuttle, passenger trains, and saloons, effective from 19th September 2023.

A notification issued by the PR stated that fares of all coaches of passenger trains and shuttle trains have been jacked up.

The development comes in response to the recent hike in petroleum product prices announced by the caretaker government following the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra)’s recommendations has increased the prices of petroleum products by up to Rs 26.2 per litre amid an increase in global oil rates. Currently, the price of petrol in Pakistan is Rs 331.38, while high-speed diesel (HSD) is being sold for Rs 329.18 per litre.

The petrol has been hiked by Rs 26.02 per litre while high-speed diesel (HSD) by Rs 17.4 per litre.

Both the products are majorly used in public as well as private transport, therefore, an increase in the petrol and HSD has a direct impact on the prices of everything as it escalates the transportation costs.

It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan Railways has hiked train fares for the second time since August 17, the fares for all passenger trains were jacked up by 10 percent, making travel difficult for the common man, especially labourers.

The hike in petrol and HSD prices has not only resulted in increasing trains fares but it has also resulted in increasing the intercity and intra-city fares of public transport including rickshaws, taxis, online taxi services such as Indrive, Uber, mini-buses, wagons, and buses plying from one city to another city.

The transporters have increased the bus fares from Islamabad to Lahore by Rs 400-600 depending on the nature of the buses. Similarly, stop-to-stop fares for wagons plying within the city have been increased by Rs 10 per person within the past month and a half as it is taken to Rs 40 from Rs 30. Islamabad to Lahore fares of Faisal Movers and Skyways like bus services have been increased from Rs 1,700 to Rs2,300 per person. The same is the situation with other means of transportation.

According to the PR’s notification, the director of IT at Pakistan Railways will be in charge of implementing the fare increase for advance bookings on all mail/express and intercity trains.

Travellers planning to book tickets will see the new fare reflected in the reservation systems. The updated fare table, which details the changes, will be available to the public on the official website of Pakistan Railways.

Furthermore, all booking and reservation offices, as well as railway stations, have been directed to implement and communicate this new fare structure to passengers. Also, fares will be rounded off, adhering to a guideline issued back in 2019, ensuring ease of transactions for passengers and ticketing staff alike.

Railway officials have emphasized the importance of accurate fare implementation. Any discrepancies, if noticed by station or commercial staff, should be reported within a week. Failure to do so will result in the staff being held accountable, the notification warns.

The reason behind the fare increase has not been detailed in the notification, leaving many to speculate on the factors driving this decision. Travellers are urged to verify the new fares on the official website or at railway stations before planning their trips.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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