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Distance between Railways' AC class fare and air fare narrows
Despite knowing that inflation has taken a massive toll on populace, the government has dared to raise the rail fares across the board for the first time in last ten years. The freight charges, which contribute bulk of the revenue, have been left untouched.

TO BE made applicable from January 21, the fare hike will impact all, be it a passenger traveling in second class-non sleeper commonly known as general class, sleeper class or in an air-cooled compartment. The passengers travelling in AC coaches will bear the maximum brunt as only nine months ago the government had hiked the fares. With the latest hike the Indian railways is aiming to earn an additional 6,600 crore rupees annually.

As per the latest announcements made by the government, the lowest hike is of two paise per km for second-class suburban rail and the highest is 10 paise per km for AC first class. For sleeper class, the hike is six paise per km. Overall there has been a substantial hike in first class and AC fares.

After this fair hike, a passenger travelling from Delhi to Mumbai in AC class has to shell out on an average 150 rupees more in any express and superfast train. However, if one goes via Rajdhani Express to the same destination he has to shell out on an average 200 rupees more. Fare of the first class AC in Rajdhani on this route has witnessed maximum increase to 3,357 rupees. The prevailing average economy air fare for one way Delhi-Mumbai route is around 4000 rupees.

Boarding a train from Delhi to Patna in first class AC coaches will cost 100 rupees more on an average. One has to now pay 2,520 rupees to travel in first class AC on this route. The one way air fare on Delhi-Patna route currently is around 6,600 rupees.

Similarly, a passenger travelling from New Delhi to Chennai by the Tamil Nadu or G.T. Express will have to pay an additional 91 rupees for a second class ticket, Rs. 132 for a sleeper ticket, Rs. 312 for AC-3 tier, Rs. 132 for AC 2-tier, and Rs. 223 for AC first class. The present average AC fare is 2,500 rupees on this route. The average economy class one way air fare from New Delhi to Chennai is around Rs 4,500 currently.

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