We have good news for those who love travelling by trains – the fare for a number of premium trains might be coming down soon.
The Indian Railways is currently mulling slashing the cost of travelling in trains like Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto, especially for long-distance journeys. In fact, the authorities are thinking about reserving 50% of the seats (or berths) for normal fare (without surge pricing).
At present, these trains reserve about 10% of berths for normal fares. The call to raise that number will bring down the average fare for buying tickets in these trains.
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One of the reasons the railways is planning on this is to ensure that even the premium services are more accessible to the general public. Another reason being, currently, many of these trains have multiple vacant seats, which the ministry wants to correct.
In a PTI report, a Railway Ministry official has been quoted as saying, “We are trying to make the premier service more passenger-friendly with a few changes so that occupancy rate will go up. There a few options including keeping at least 50 per cent seats in normal fare. However, no decision has been taken as yet.”
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had recently asked authorities to review the flexi-fare system that the railways employs in regards to these premium trains. The system, which came into effect on September 2016, works like surge pricing, wherein the base fares for these trains increase by 10% with every 10% increase in bookings while being subjected to a prescribed ceiling limit. While this has led to an increase in revenue of the railways, it has led to a decrease in occupancy and the minister has reportedly wanted to rectify that as a result.