As India's nearly two centuries-old Railways open up to private players, the government has decided to allow these companies to set the travel fare for passengers when the begin operations, in a bid to invite investors.
Bloomberg reported that VK Yadav, chairman of India's Railway Board, made the announcement on Thursday. He was quoted as saying that air-conditioned buses and planes also operate on the routes that will be run by private companies, becoming an important determinant in the prices of tickets.
Yadav further said that Alstom SA, Bombardier Inc, GMR Infrastructure Ltd and Adani Enterprises Ltd were among companies that are interested in undertaking projects aimed at privatising the railways. The Railway Ministry estimates that these projects can pump in investments of over $7.5 billion over five years.
In July, the Narendra Modi government had invited RFQs for private players for operation of passenger train services on 109 Origin Destination (OD) pairs of routes through introduction of 151 modern trains. The Railways had chosen about 100 routes to run 150 private passenger trains in December last year.