RailwayMinister Piyush Goyal is all set to give a Diwali gift to travellers. He isplanning to partially scraping the Flexi-fare scheme.
Goyal issupposed to make a decision today, ahead of Diwali and Chhath puja. The revisedflexi-fare scheme is assumed to have benefits such as up to 50 per centdiscount on bookings made from 4 days up to the trip to the last minute.Discount schemes of up to 20 per cent for trains which utilise less than 50 percent are also being planned, as reported in Financial Express.
Therailways first introduced the flexi-fare or dynamic pricing scheme in September2016 for 142 premium trains that include 52 Duronto Trains, 44 Rajdhani Trainsand 46 Shatabdi Trains. However, the flexi-fare scheme may be dumped foraround 40 trains, while the remaining 102 trains may get discounts. The fare ofthe passengers is increased by 10 per cent for every 10 per cent of seatsallocated under the flexi-fare. A maximum fare limit of 140 per cent and 150per cent respectively for AC-III tier and all above classes except for First ACand Executive Chair car are levied.
Theflexi-fare scheme has faced criticism from passengers as well as theComptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India. The CAG had said that while theincome of the national transporter has increased after the debut offlexi-fares, the number of passengers travelling has actually decreased. TheCAG also revealed that airfares on many routes were much cheaper compared tothe train ticket prices after the debut of flexi-fare scheme. The auditor hadalso suggested to rationalise the plan and make it more by demand for routeswhere occupancy is high.
IndianRailway's decision to offer discounts and partially scrap the flexi-fare systemmight be a welcome step for passengers ahead of the festive season's rush.