Rail’s Suvidha scheme to be lighter on commuter pockets

New Delhi: After Tatkaal and Premium, the Railway Board will now introduce a scheme called “Suvidha” intended to be lighter on commuters’ pockets, considering trains were running empty under Premium fares. Slated to be launched in the first week of June, the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), which is the Railways’ IT arm, has been asked to add the upcoming scheme to Indian Railways’ website.

Suvidha will be 200 per cent of the normal fare as opposed to Premium, which is 300 per cent of normal fare. Tatkaal, on the other hand, is Rs 300 added to the normal fare of whichever class one purchases, but is available only 24 hours in advance and is heavily misused by touts. Senior Railway officials, on condition of anonymity, revealed that Suvidha was thought of when Premium trains like the Mumbai-Gorakhpur Express ran at an occupancy rate as low as seven per cent in April.

“The Railway Board has asked all General Managers to identify which trains are running at such low occupancy; the idea is that by providing the Suvidha scheme, touts will find it even harder to operate and those who cannot afford the 300 per cent in Premium, but want to plan 24 hours in advance, will have an option as well,” said an official. He added that particular trains would be identified. “For example, if we see that people have stopped booking a train after a certain date, then we will switch that train from Premium to Suvidha, so if Mumbai to Gorakhpur is running empty from May 15, we will switch that train to Suvidha and the point of view that Railway is not affordable because of Premium will change,” he explained. The Suvidha scheme will also be provided as one of the results when passengers search for Tatkaal or Premium trains on the Internet.