Covid: Stoppage of sale of platform tickets see railways' earnings dip by 94 per cent in FY 20-21

NEW DELHI: The railways’ earnings from platform tickets took a severe hit in 2020-21 with revenue from sale dipping by about 94 per cent as compared to the previous year due to restrictions imposed on entry into stations because of the coronavirus crisis, a RTI has found.

In a reply to a RTI query from Madhya Pradesh-based Chandra Shekhar Gaur, the railways said it earned Rs 10 crore till February in 2020-21 through sale of platform tickets.

In 2019-2020, the railways netted Rs 160.87 crore which was the highest earning from platform tickets for the national transporter in the last five years, the RTI has found.

The railways took the step to restrict overcrowding at railway stations even before the nationwide lockdown was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in March 2020.

With the divisional railway managers empowered to decide on the rate of platform tickets and the decision on whether to restrict entry, several railway zones completely denied entry and allowed only valid ticket holders entrance for most of the year.

Later, a decision was also taken to increase the prices of platform tickets from Rs 10 to Rs 30 and even Rs 50 in certain zones in an effort to dissuade people from entering stations.

The railways, however, maintained that the rise in prices of tickets was temporary and a measure to counter the pandemic.

Revenue from platform tickets has lingered around the Rs 131 crore mark except 2018-2019 when it shot up to Rs 139.20 crore.

In 2019-20, it touched the Rs 160 crore mark, but dipped severely to Rs 10 crore in 2020-21 until February this year.

With the easing of restrictions, the Northern Railways — the largest zone of railways — on Saturday announced that they have decided to restart the sale of platform tickets at eight major stations in the Delhi Division.

The rates of the platform ticket have been enhanced to Rs 30 per ticket in order to prevent unnecessary crowding at the station, it said.

The eight stations where passengers can avail of the platform ticket facility include New Delhi, Delhi Junction, Hazrat Nizamuddin, Anand Vihar Terminal, Meerut City, Ghaziabad, Delhi Sarai Rohilla and Delhi Cantt railway stations.