The ticket prices of Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto Express trains will see a 3-9 per cent hike as Railways has jacked up the prices of the food it serves on these trains as part of the fares.
The price of food items served on other mail/express trains, where passengers have to buy the food on board, has also been hiked.
While hiking the prices, the Railways has in many cases cut down the quantity of food items stipulated to catering vendors in the various menus. For the Rajdhani/Shatabdi/Duronto trains, the increase in prices is significantly high, in many cases double. In the case of mail/express trains where food is sold to passengers, minimum quantities of many of the food items required to be served, too, have seen a reduction.
The changes are in accordance with requests from IRCTC and recommendations of the Menu and Tariff Committee set up by the Railway Board, according to an order from the Railway Ministry.
“The tariff of Rajdhani/ Shatabdi/ Duronto trains has been revised after six years since the last revision in 2013 while the tariff of standard meals for mail/express trains after seven years since the last revision in 2012,” a ministry statement said. “With a view to arrive at realistic prices, a committee was nominated by the Railway Board to examine and recommend the revision in menu and tariff of these services. The committee scientifically examined all aspects of costing keeping in mind the objective to provide good quality and hygienic food to the travelling passengers on Indian Railways,” the statement said.
Under the existing system, passengers in many premium trains have the option to opt out of the food offered and will not have to pay catering charges. “To continue giving good quality food, catering charges need to be revised,” Minister of State, Railways Suresh Angadi told reporters.
For premium trains, the fare hike to be borne by the passenger will vary, depending on duration of the journey and how many meals have been served to her.
The increase reflects the money that vendors get from IRCTC for serving the set menu decided by Railways. In the case of ordinary mail/express trains, the vendors get to charge passengers directly. In mail/express trains a-la-carte food items will not be sold anymore and only meals will be allowed. Railways has not increased the rate of Janta Meal of poori aloo, which sells at Rs 20.
Railways will also introduce “snack meal” at Rs 50. IRCTC will decide the snack meal menu later. “The revised catering tariff shall be effective from March 29, 2020,” said the ministry statement.