Indian Railways ends Flexi Fare experiment on two stretches

New Delhi: Indian Railways have, after starting an experiment of flexible fares from September 9 on some prime trains, decided to end it on the Jaipur-Ajmer and Mysuru-Bengaluru sections.

The railways were expecting additional revenue of Rs 500 crore by March from this but have got only Rs 92 crore more in the first two months. The rollback would result in reduction of fares of the trains on the said sections by an average of nine to 24%.

The system was the same one followed by cab aggregators and the airline sector, with pricing driven by the rise or fall in demand. The new system was introduced on 142 premium trains — 42 Rajdhani, 46 Shatabdi and 54 of the Duronto. It had reduced the gap between airfares and the rates of these premium trains. Except for the two sections mentioned, the flexifare system would continue for now. In addition, the railways have decided on discounts for some train journeys.

“We had introduced the system on an experimental basis and will have a full review in a couple of months. Till then, the pricing system for premium trains will continue to be the same in the other sections,” said an official source.

According to sources, the expectation was for additional revenue of Rs 83 crore a month but occupancy fell with higher fares; many shifted to road or air travel. In the system, prices are to rise by 10% for every 10% of tickets sold. Supplementary levies such as reservation charge, superfast charge, catering charge and service tax remain the same.

The railways ministry said the new discounts it has decided to give (for six months on a trial basis) for the two sections mentioned, where flexi fare has been rolled back, would mean the ticket for the New Delhi-Ajmer Shatabdi would drop to Rs 300 from Rs 351, and of the Jaipur-Kishangarh Shatabdi from Rs 328 to Rs 300; Ajmer-Jaipur will drop to Rs 200, from Rs 396. Also, the Bengaluru City-Mysuru and Mysuru-Bengaluru City Shatabdi would see a drop of 31% and 18.4%, respectively.