Railways hikes seat quota for senior citizens

New Delhi: In the wake of Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu's budgetary announcements, the railways ministry on Wednesday announced increased quota for senior citizens in trains and a rationalised lump sum freight rates for merry-go-round (MGR) system.

Railway Board member (traffic) Mohammad Jamshed said the quota has been increased by 50 percent and would be applicable from April 1.

He launched these initiatives at a function at the Rail Bhavan here on Wednesday.

A ministry statement said women passengers aged 45 and above and pregnant women when travelling alone were also getting a combined reservation quota of two lower berths per coach in sleeper, AC II and III tier classes.

In 2015, the quota of two lower berths per coach in sleeper class was increased to four. Subsequently, the condition of 'only when travelling alone' was relaxed, the statement said.

It said this quota at present is available even in case of a single application of two passengers with a combination of senior citizens/female passengers above the age of 45/pregnant women.

The quota has now been enhanced to six lower berths per coach in sleeper class and three lower berths per coach in AC II and III classes, the statement said.

For Rajdhani, Duronto and fully AC Express trains, there will be four lower berths per coach reserved under the quota as against three lower berths per coach in case of normal mail/express trains.

The ministry also formulated revised scheme with rationalized lump sum rates for MGR system to provide economical and reliable alternative short lead traffic.

The ministry said for 18-km lead, the revised MGR rates would be around Rs.47 per tonne for 2-3 trips a day as compared to road rates of Rs.72 per tonne for the same lead. IANS