NEW DELHI: Private players keen to operate passenger trains have asked the railways not to allow any similar train on the same route within one hour from any station within 50km from where their trains depart. The Indian Railways is looking into several suggestions, including this, and is likely to respond to the bidders this week.
Earlier, in the bid document, the railways had proposed that no new similar train would be scheduled within 60 minutes from any station from where private trains will start. But private players have cited that there are a number of cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru which have several stations within the city and their suburbs. Hence, there is a need to extend this norm to more stations within and around the identified cities.
“We have made several suggestions to the railways for consideration after carrying out our assessment. Private players will bring investment only when they are confident of good business. You may not get enough passengers to run more than one such train in quick succession. The objective should not be to have cut throat competition, but to coexist,” said one of the bidders.
Sources said the railways will make its position clear before inviting financial bids for running 151 trains on 109 pairs of routes. “It’s true that private players would have to make huge investments, to the tune of Rs 30,000 crore and they will decide their fares, which is likely to be higher as they will bring modern rolling stock and provide more facilities. Now, only serious players are in the fray,” said a government source.
In the bid document, the railways had specified that the restriction on scheduling new trains within one hour won’t apply only if the capacity utilisation of the train by a private player is more than 80% in three consecutive months.