Domestic Economy

Iran Gov't Starts Offering $53m in Cheap Loans to Rail Passenger Companies

Iran Gov't Starts Offering $53m in Cheap Loans to Rail Passenger CompaniesIran Gov't Starts Offering $53m in Cheap Loans to Rail Passenger Companies

The government is offering a total of 9.4 trillion rials (53.4 million) as low interest loans (12%) to rail passenger transportation companies to help them get back on their feet after they incurred losses due to the coronavirus outbreak, says the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways.
“The loans have been made available from Monday [June 8] and 63 companies have been found eligible to receive them,” Saeed Rasouli was also quoted as saying by IRNA. 
Presently, all coronavirus-related protocols and social distancing are being observed, while trains are running as scheduled.
“The number of rail passengers fell by 94% in the new Iranian year holidays [March 20-April 3] compared with last year’s similar period,” Mehrdad Taqizadeh, the secretary of Iran’s Guild of Rail Transport Companies, said.
“A total of 300,000 tickets were cancelled and 910 billion rials [$5.17 million] were paid back to people following the disease outbreak.
The Supreme Council of Transport, affiliated to the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development, has approved a 20% rise in rail fares as of June 21.”
Taqizadeh noted that the decision was made with regard to the social distancing guidelines of Health Ministry in the light of the coronavirus pandemic and the inflation rate. 
“Passenger trains are now operating at half capacity; only two passengers are allowed in a four-seater booth,” he added. 
Noting that as per the directive of the council, supply and demand will determine the fares of five-star trains, he said rail companies had asked for a 60% rise in ticket prices in view of the social distancing rules and inflation rate, but the council only approved a 20% increase. 
The council also agreed to a 50% rise in the fares of suburban trains, Fars News Agency reported. 
In separate remarks, the deputy head of IRIR for passenger transportation, Mir Hassan Mousavi, said the 20% rise in ticket prices has nothing to do with social distancing and restrictions imposed on the number of passengers per train cars.
Mousavi explained that the increase is in line with inflation rate and increased costs borne by rail companies.
The overall average goods and services Consumer Price Index in the 12-month period ending May 20 increased by 29.8% compared with the corresponding period of last year, latest data released by SCI show. 

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