The government announced a fuel surcharge of just under 5 percent on freight traffic in the Rail Budget on Tuesday, but ducked the opportunity of a further round of passenger fare hikes as it gears up for a national election due next year.

Here are some reactions from people on the street:

Shanta Dutta, 56, teacher - "Tatkal prices are expensive anyway and increasing them is unfair."

Shivaji Dutta, 62, passenger from Assam - "Passenger fares should have been increased a little because it is important that the railways do not run at a loss."

Janardan Pandey, 42, army soldier - "With cost of living going up at this rate, rail fares should also have been increased. The government is giving you more facilities -- how will it pay for them?"

Ramji Lal, 52, railway employee - "Rail fares should be increased since they haven't really been raised in 10 years. The current fares are too low."

Shivnath Agarwal, 71, lawyer - "The Congress government is a bogus government. They don't reduce their expenditure but make the common man suffer."

Murari Lal Sharma, 68, real estate promoter from Kolkata - "The country's population is increasing and rail fares should be raised in order to cater to the people. So many people have to come and go, how will the government get money for all this?"

Shyam Sunder Gupta, 73, businessman from Kolkata - "Tatkal charges should not have been increased as it's already expensive and you don't get a refund if you miss the train. Even if prices are increased, the quality of food in trains should improve as it is really bad."

Mahesh Chandra Rajoria, 62, retired government official - "Rail fares should have been hiked for the development of the county. Hiking fares was a necessity. It was not hiked because elections are due next year."

Inder Mohan, 63, retired government employee - "It is important for the government to increase fares minimally because there is so much inflation. The government does a lot of expenditure. They also have to pay salaries to railway employees so they need the money."


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