Bullet train fare 1.5 times higher than AC 1st Class

New Delhi: The Ministry of Railways has proposed a tariff for the upcoming bullet train service between Mumbai and Ahmedabad that will be 1.5 times more than the first class AC fare prevailing now, parliament was informed on Wednesday. In Duronto Express, for example, the current AC 1st Class fare between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, is Rs.2,200. This means, for the 508-km run between the two cities -- via a dedicated, high-speed corridor -- the fare will be around Rs.3,300. In Japan, a similar, 550-km run between Tokyo and Osaka on the Shinkansen, as the bullet train network there is called -- and on which the Indian service is being modelled -- costs around Rs.8,500. In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha said the first phase of the Indian network will have a maximum design speed of 350 km per hour and an operating speed of 320 km per hour. The ministry expects around 36,000 daily users per day both ways by 2023, going up to 186,000 by 2053. "The total journey time of the fast train will be 2.07 hours and of trains stopping at each station will be 2.58 hrs," Sinha said. The ministry has planned a total of 12 stations for the train -- Mumbai, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati. "The total completion cost will be approximately Rs.97,636 crore," the minister said. "Further, it has been decided to undertake a feasibility study between Delhi-Nagpur as part of the New Delhi-Chennai corridor through government-to-government cooperation with China," he said in his answer to the question posed by G. Hari of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. In a debate in the Lok Sabha last week, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had brushed aside criticism of bullet trains being an expensive proposition for the country, saying the government had managed to secure a soft loan of Rs.1 lakh crore from Japan at a mere 0.1 percent interest. "The technology to be used for bullet trains will help improve the services of normal trains and the integration of signalling system," said Prabhu, wondering if a "deliberate misinformation" campaign was going on against the introduction of such trains.