Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique on Saturday announced a reduction in train fares for at least three months in an effort to attract more passengers and increase the occupancy rate.
Addressing a press conference at Railways Headquarters, the minister said the fares had been cut initially for a period of three months.
“Apart from making train travel cheaper than road transport, Pakistan Railways has also increased the number of freight trains from one to three,” Rafique said. The number of freight trains will be increased by up to five by the end of December.
“Efforts are also being made to remove the PR’s annual deficit of Rs.35 billion by the end of current financial year,” Rafique added. The minister assured train commuters that the problem of chronic delays would be largely redressed during the current financial year as more locomotives had been inducted in operation.
The maintenance cost of each locomotive was $50 which was very low as compared to the international standard. “One freight train approximately earned Rs1.15 billion annually and was the major source of revenue for the authority,” the minister explained.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2013.