The discussions are on with senior officials and experts whether to allow private players run passenger operations and fix fares, a senior Railway Board member said Friday.
At an event organized by Centre for Transportation Research and management, Railway Board Member (Traffic) Girish Pillai said that senior officials are now currently discussing the matter.
There have been many changes in train operations across the world and I think it’s time that India should discuss the options of allowing private operators to operate passenger trains.
“Whether they can be permitted to fix fares, construct terminals, senior officials of railways and experts in the field are discussing this,” said Pillai.
He also said that there was a need to separate the freight sector and passenger services.
The senior official maintained that running train services in the country is loss making endeavour and only a few trains are making any profit, while others are running in losses.
He said that only 15 percent of the non-sub-urban passengers travel in reserved classes among whom around five percent travel in higher classes and 10 to 11 percent travel in sleeper classes.
“Most of them travel in unreserved category. There is a need for changes in freight as well as passenger fares and there needs to be more flexibility in them, he said.
Pillai pointed out that with the nod for private players to enter the freight sector around 50 private freight terminals have come up in the country and railways wants more to come up.
He said that in the USA, the rail operator has only 25 percent of the wagon and container services and the other 75 percent are with private businesses. In Russia, he said, the govt has no stake in these services.