Railways to introduce new fare system for premier trains; Get details here

New Delhi: Indian Railways is all set to introduce a new dynamic ticket pricing scheme for its premier trains – Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi. It is revamping its flexi-fare pricing scheme to win back the trust of passengers amid increased competition from airlines which are offering competitive pricing in economy class air travel.

Railways will rework the flexi-fare or dynamic pricing scheme in about one-third of the premier trains which have lower occupancy rates, Railway ministry sources said.

According to sources, the officials are planning to give 50 per cent discount for the last-minute bookings for berths or seats available up to four days before the journey in over 100 trains.

The railways would also give discounts of up to 15-20 per cent on bookings in trains which have an occupancy rate of below 60 per cent, sources revealed.

Railways introduced the flexi-fare or dynamic pricing for 44 Rajdhani, 52 Duronto and 46 Shatabdi Express trains on September 9, 2016. Under this mechanism, the base fare increases by 10 per cent with every 10 per cent of berths occupied, subject to a prescribed limit. There was no change in the existing fares of first AC and economy class.

But on December 19, Railways started providing 10 per cent rebate for seats left vacant after the preparation of final occupancy charts.

In July this year, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its report tabled in Parliament highlighted that tickets of the Indian Railways’ premium trains were much higher as compared to air fares.

The report highlighted that the airlines reported growth in number of passengers in 26 directions whereas occupancy rates in Rajdhani or Duranto Express trains increased only in four directions.

The flexi fare scheme has led to decline in ticket sales in all classes except sleeper class of Duronto trains, the CAG report stated.

Though the railways earned Rs 552 crore from passengers in premier trains after the flexi-fare system (from September 9, 2016, to July 31, 2017), there was a decline of 2.65 per cent in the number of passengers despite availability of higher number of berths/seats, which resulted in sub-optimal utilization of its capacity.

The CAG also advised the Railways to fine tune the flexi-fare scheme so that not only revenue but also the number of passengers could be increased.

(With Agency inputs)