The Indian Railways is planning to lure more passengers by revoking the flexi-fare scheme in some trains and offering discounts in others. The move comes just at the start of the festive season, when the airlines' load factor is packed due to discount schemes.
The railways plan to give graded discounts in fares for all classes of current flexi-fare trains, four days prior to the scheduled date of the train starting from the originating station. Flexi fares increase the price of tickets as occupancy increases.
However, there will be no discount on the fares of the premium trains which have an occupancy rate of more than 80 per cent.
According to a Railway Ministry senior official, the scheme has been discontinued in 15 trains, where the average uni-directional monthly occupancy was less than 50 per cent throughout the year.
The official said that the railways had decided to discontinue the flexi-fare in a pre-defined lean period of three months in 32 trains with uni-directional monthly occupancy between 50-75 per cent throughout the last fiscal.
The decision assumes significance as it will enable the railways to lure more passengers that it had lost to other means of transport, especially the aviation sector.
In addition, the flexi-fare scheme will continue in over 100 trains in which uni-directional monthly occupancy is more than 75 per cent throughout the year.
The official also said that the changes shall be made on an experimental basis for six months. "Decision to continue it will be taken after accessing its outcome," the official added.
On September 9, 2016, the railways had introduced flexi-fare for premier trains: 44 Rajdhanis, 52 Durontos and 46 Shatabdi Express trains.
Under this, the base fare increases by 10 per cent with every 10 per cent of berths sold, subject to a prescribed limit. There was no change in the existing fare for first AC and economy class.
But on December 19, the Railways started providing 10 per cent rebate on any seat left vacant after the preparation of the passenger chart.
The Railways has reviewed Flexi Fare Scheme and introduced following changes:
Discontinuation of Flexi-fare in trains with average monthly occupancy less than 50% throughout the previous year.
Discontinuation of Flexi-fare, in lean period of 3 months, in trains with average monthly occupancy between 50-75% throughout the previous year.
Maximum current cap of 1.5 times to be reduced to 1.4 times in all classes.
To increase the occupancy of less patronised classes (2A, 3A, CC etc.), Graded discount of 20% on last fare on all trains with Flexi Fare and Humsafar Trains where occupancy of a particular class is less than 60% (4 days prior to scheduled departure of the train). Further, 10% discount will be offered as per the table given below:
Upto -70% occupancy : 20% on last fare
70-80% occupancy : 10% on last fare
Above 80% occupancy : Nil
Changes shall be implemented from Advance Reservation Period (ARP) i.e. 4 months after making necessary changes in Passenger Reservation System, on an experimental basis for six months to be further extended after assessing its outcome
List of trains with occupancy less than 50% (2017-18) from which Flexi Fare will be removed in 2018-19
Train no. Train type and Train Name
12006 Shatabdi: Kalka-New Delhi Shatabdi
12012 Shatabdi: Kalka-New Delhi Shatabdi
12037 Shatabdi: New Delhi-Ludhiana Shatabdi
12038 Shatabdi: Ludhiana-New Delhi Shatabdi
12043 Shatabdi: Moga(Ludhiana)-New Delhi Shatabdi
12044 Shatabdi: New Delhi-Moga(Ludhiana) Shatabdi
12047 Shatabdi: New Delhi-Bhatinda Shatabdi
12048 Shatabdi: Bhatinda-New Delhi Shatabdi
12085 Shatabdi: Guwahati-Dibrugarh Shatabdi
12086 Shatabdi: Dibrugarh-Guwahati Shatabdi
12087 Shatabdi: Naharlagun-Guwahati Shatabdi
12088 Shatabdi: Guwahati-Naharlagun Shatabdi
12277 Shatabdi: Howrah-Puri Shatabdi
22205 Duronto: Chennai-Madurai Duronto
22206 Duronto: Madurai-Chennai Duronto
List of trains with occupancy between 50%-75% (2017-18) from which Flexi Fare will be removed in lean period of 2018-19
Train No. & Train Name
1. 12005 KALKA SHATABDI
2. 12014 AMRITSAR SHATABDI
3. 12016 AJMER SHATABDI
4. 12018 DEHRADUN SHATABDI
5. 12020 SHATABDI EXPRESS
6. 12025 SHATABDI EXP
7. 12026 PUNE SHATABDI
8. 12030 SWARNA SHATABDI
9. 12031 AMRITSAR SHATABDI
10. 12032 AMRITSAR SHATABDI
11. 12039 KGM NDLS SHT
12. 12041 SHATABDI EXPRESS
13. 12042 NJP HWH SHATABDI
14. 12045 NDLS CDG SHATABDI
15. 12046 CDG NDLS SHATABDI
16. 12213 DURONTO EXPRESS
17. 12214 YPR DURONTO EXP
18. 12219 SC DURONTO EXP
19. 12223 LTT ERS DURONTO
20. 12224 ERS LTT DURONTO
21. 12227 INDORE DURONTO
22. 12228 MUMBAI DURONTO
23. 12239 JAIPUR DURONTO
24. 12240 JP MMCT DURONTO
25. 12243 SHATABDI EXP
26. 12244 SHATABDI EXP
27. 12278 SHATABDI EXPRESS
28. 12437 RAJDHANI EXP
29. 12441 BSP NDLS RAJ EX
30. 12442 BILASPUR RJDHNI
31. 12453 RNC NDLS RAJ EXP
32. 22414 NZM MAO RAJ
Flexi Fare Scheme was launched with effect from 9th September, 2016. The scheme generated high revenue however initially there was a drop of passengers which picked up later on. Further, to rationalise the fares an 8 member committee was formed to review the scheme and make it more passenger friendly. The review of the scheme has been done based on the recommendation of the committee, Comptroller and Auditor General’s report, and representations from passengers.
[With Agency Inputs]