New Delhi: In what could bring cheers to lakhs of Rail passengers, the Indian Railways is all set to reduce flexi-fares (also known as also called dynamic pricing) for certain premium trains.
As per several media reports the Railway ministry is first testing the reduction in flexi-fare in 40 trains. Media reports said that railways is mulling options to bring in special discounts under the scheme in less busy routes. Also, flexi-fares will be scrapped for train routes that have shown less than 50 percent utilisation.
Earlier, some reports had said that the Rail ministry is planning to suspend the scheme temporarily as an experiment during lean months in some identified trains as they are seeing occupancy as low as 30 percent.
After the introduction of flexi-fare scheme, it was being reported that passengers in some sectors pay as much as airfares for the premium trains.
Launched in September 2016, the base fare for Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi trains were put in place on flexi fare system. While 10 percent of the seats were sold in the normal fare in the beginning, it went on increasing by 10 percent with every 10 percent of berths sold with the ceiling limit at maximum 50 percent depending upon the demand. For AC-2 tier and Chair Car, the maximum hike was 50 percent while for AC-3 tier, it was 40 percent.
There are total 42 Rajdhani trains, 46 Shatabdi and 54 Duronto trains.
Recently, a CAG report had come down hard on the railways for the flexi-fare prices and it stated a comparison with airfare for 13 sectors showed that travelling in aeroplane was cheaper than in train for a large number of routes. In terms of absolute numbers, the premium trains carried 2.40 crore passengers during post-flexi period (September 9, 2016 to July 31, 2017) as compared to 2.47 crore passengers during pre-flexi period (September 9, 2015 to July 31, 2016), said the CAG in its report.
With PTI Inputs