Central Railway removes ‘premium fare’ tag from eight trains

Mumbai: The ‘premium fare’ train policy, where passengers pay fares according to market demand, with the upper limit of a ticket being three times its normal price, was facing opposition from passengers because tickets on several routes were getting as costly as airfares. Breaking point was reached around

March when railways started running trains as premium- without providing any extra facility- in one direction, and normal trains during the return journey.

On Tuesday, a statement from Central Railway stated that ‘after the success of Tatkal specials, Central Railway has decided to change the classification of the following Premium specials, which are running on dynamic pricing basis to Tatkal Special trains for the benefit of passengers’. It means that the passenger is now free of the fear that he might end up paying the kind of rates which are almost in the league of airlines.

“The terrible response that the CST-Ernakulam and CST-Thirunelveli premium specials got, with occupancy hovering around the 35 percent mark, made the railways realise that the passenger might not be willing to pay such a high price for what is an ordinary train ride. Hopefully it is a lesson for the railways to be more socially responsible as the country’s premium people’s mover,” said a top ranking railway official.

The passenger associations are happy because, for them, the move by the railways is just the beginning. Speaking to dna, Thomas Simon of the Western India Passengers Association (WIPA) said, “We have been protesting right from the onset saying that the premium concept is a faulty one. It is nothing but black-marketing by the railways by taking advantage of the massive demand for tickets on certain routes during festival seasons. It is a start and hopefully the railways will roll back the concept itself.”

According to Simon, the need of the hour is better utilisation of rakes, speeding-up of trains and doubling of tracks on congested stretches to ensure more trains are run every day. “The railways should earn money by running more trains. There are no short-cuts,” said Simon.

Premium trains that have been converted to tatkal specials:
1) 02019 (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus- Mumbai Nagpur) Tatkal Special on every Saturday from 6.6.2015 to 27.6.2015
2) 02020 (Nagpur – Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Mumbai) Tatkal Special on every Saturday from 6.6.2015 to 27.6.2015
3) 02053 (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus- Mumbai – Patna) Tatkal Special on every Tuesday from9.6.2015 to 23.6.2015
4) 02047 (Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Gorakhpur) Tatkal Special on every Thursday from 4.6.2015 to 25.6.2015
5) 02069 (Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Varanasi) Tatkal Special on every Monday from 8.6.2015 to22.6.2015
6) 02057 (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Mumbai – Tirunelvelli) Tatkal Special on Wednesday 3.6.2015
7) 02065 (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Mumbai – Ernakulam) Tatkal Special on Sunday 7.6.2015
8) 02881 (Pune – Bhubaneshwar) Tatkal Special on every Tuesday from 2.6.2015 to 30.6.2015