According to an RTI response, Indian Railways increased its revenue from kid passengers by more than 2,800 crore over the course of the last seven years by modifying the child travel fare standards.
According to the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) response provided in response to a request made under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the 2022–23 fiscal year alone earned 560 crore due to the modified standards, making it the most lucrative year.
The Ministry of Railways’ CRIS organisation offers IT solutions in crucial sectors such ticketing and passenger services, freight services, train traffic management and operations, among others.
Children aged 5 to under 12 who choose separate berths or seats in a reserved carriage would be charged the full adult cost, the ministry of transportation declared on March 31, 2016. From April 21, 2016, the amended standard was in effect.
Previously, the railways offered separate seats to youngsters between the ages of 5 and 12 while only costing half the regular transit fare.
Although the updated standard allows children in the aforementioned age category to fly for half the price, they are still required to sit on the seat of the accompanying adult and are not given their own berths or seats.
From the fiscal years 2016–17 to 2022–23, the CRIS has given year-by-year data in a tabular format for two types of children based on their fare options.
The data reveals that nearly 3.6 crore youngsters went during these seven years for half the cost without selecting a reserved seat or coach. The majority of children—more than 10 crore—opted for a separate bunk or seat and paid the full ticket.
According to the response, almost 70% of all youngsters who use the trains prefer to pay the entire cost and get a bed or seat, according to Chandra Shekhar Gaur, the RTI requester.
“Using one bunk or seat on a lengthy travel is quite difficult for both the youngster and the adult, he continued. The railways have benefited greatly from the change of the standards. The data, according to Gaur, also demonstrates that the Covid epidemic had a negative impact because the year 2020–21, which was the least profitable year due to the changed rule, only brought in 157 crore rupees.