Railways on Wednesday issued an order to restore the fare for AC 3-tier economy class travel which had been withdrawn in November last year when it was merged with AC 3-tier.
Despite the restoration in price, Railways will continue offering linen to passengers, the order indicated.
The present order has withdrawn an earlier circular in which the fare for AC 3-tier economy class ticket had been made equal to the fare of an AC 3-tier ticket. The reason for the merger was stated to be the cost of linen which was initially not provided in the economy air conditioned class.
According to the order, passengers who have booked tickets online and over the counter will be given a refund of the extra amount for the pre-booked tickets.
The railways, while introducing the 3E as a class in September 2021, had announced that fares in these newly-introduced coaches will be 6-8 per cent less than normal AC 3 coaches, pitching the class of travel as the "best and cheapest AC travel service" in the world.
Before the November 2022 order, passengers could book AC 3 economy tickets under a separate category of "3E" in specific trains where railways offered such seats.
Officials said, currently there are 463 AC 3 Economy coaches compared to 11,277 normal AC 3 coaches. AC 3 economy coaches have better facilities for passengers than normal AC 3 coaches, officials said.
Officials said that with the merger of AC 3-tier economy, passengers had to pay around Rs 60-70 additionally. While a normal AC 3-tier coach has 72 berths, AC 3-tier economy has 80.
Railways earned Rs 231 crore from the AC 3-tier economy class in the first year of its introduction. According to data, from April-August, 2022, 15 lakh people travelled in these coaches, generating earnings of Rs 177 crore.