Surge pricing on ‘experimental’ basis, will be revised: Railways

NEW DELHI: After facing huge criticism over the surge pricing of rail tickets for the premier trains like Rajdhani, Shatabdi, and Duronto; Indian Railways said that the decision has been taken on experimental basis and will be reviewed after some time.

The clarification by the Indian Railways comes in the wake of widespread criticism from public as well as the political parties. Delhi CM Mr Kejriwal has asked for a rollback on the steep hike in the railway fares and Mr Gandhi said “people need faster trains not faster surging ticket prices”.

The decision  clearly reveals  the railways desire to test the market. If all the indications from the railways are to be believed, passengers might have to brace for more such hikes in future.

“We have introduced the dynamic fare system on an experimental basis. We will review it after some time and see what necessary measures can be taken further”, Chairman of Railway Board (CRB) AK Mital said.

“With the revenue target for the current fiscal hiked to Rs. 51,000 crore against last fiscal of Rs. 45,000 crore, the railways are facing a loss of Rs. 33,000 crore in the passenger segment”, Railway Board Member(Traffic) Mr Mohammad Jamshed was quoted as saying.

In the surge pricing system, first 10 percent seats will be sold at the normal fare in the beginning, and it will go on increasing by 10 per cent with every 10 percent of berths sold with the ceiling limit at a maximum of 50 percent depending upon the demand. Which means the passengers who book tickets when the train is full will have to pay more. For Chair Car and 2AC, the maximum hike is 50 percent and for 3AC, it is 40 percent.

Indian Railways carries around 23 million people daily, runs many trains at rock bottom fares and struggles to balance its books. The new fare structure aims to address the “fare versus freight” distortion that has been plaguing the Railways for decades due to low investments and losses.

Board Member (Traffic) Mohd Jamshed, however, defended surge pricing, saying, “train travel is still the cheapest mode of transport in our country, charging only 36 paisa for 1 km of travel”.

Waiting list passengers will be charged at the price of the ticket last sold. The Tatkal charges would remain the same at the earlier rate of 1.5 times of the basic ticket fare, which means that no additional Tatkal charges will be levied.

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