Now senior citizens will have the option to avail either the full concession provided to them on rail tickets or half of it. The Railways is exploring ways to reduce the Rs 1,300 crore subsidy burden in the senior citizen category. The new system will be operationalised shortly after upgrading the ticketing software. The Railways bears 43 per cent of the cost of train fare even as the state-run transporter incurs a loss of about Rs 30,000 crore a year in subsidising passenger fares out of which Rs 1,600 crore is for concessional fares. Though there are many categories of passengers including sports persons and differently-abled persons who avail concessions, the major beneficiaries are in the senior citizen segment.
The total amount of concessions given in the senior citizen category is about Rs 1,300 crore a year, said a senior Railway Ministry official. At present, male senior citizens get 40 per cent while women get 50 per cent concession on the total fare. Earlier, the Railways had given all senior citizens the option of either availing the full concession or foregoing it altogether while booking tickets.