Railways Experimental Fare Pricing
Railways are tight on cash and are attempting to find a fare pricing which is similar to the practice which is followed by airlines to clean up the extra revenue.
In a first, the special AC trains on the Delhi-Mumbai route from Tuesday will be catering to increased demand during the festive season of Christmas and New Year will be having dynamic pricing. The advance reservation period for these special trains would be 15 days and the fare shall be equal to or higher than the Rajdhani Tatkal fare to start off with. “The fare is likely to increase depending on the demand intensity,” a railway statement said.
Launching an experimental basis, the premium AC train will be taking four trips between December 24 to January 2 on the busy Delhi-Mumbai route. The special trains will have only AC-2 and AC-3 classes with Rajdhani like facilities including catering. The official said that “the fares would be higher than the existing Tatkal fare of Rs 2,175 for AC-3 and Rs 2,910 for AC-2 travel. It could go up keeping into account the demands,” Though an upper cap has not been fixed, the official said, “We will fix it after seeing the response to ensure that the fare does not become unaffordable.”
As it is going through financial stress, the state-run transporter is experimenting for the first time with dynamic pricing system as it has exhausted the option of raising passenger fares which have already been raised twice. The transporter is incurring losses in the passenger sector to the tune of around Rs 26,000 crore a year which is being cross-subsidized from freight earnings.
Railways will run four trips on December 24, 27, 30 and January 2 from Delhi and there will be three return trips on December 26, 29 and January 1. There will be no commercial stoppages en route for this train which will originate and terminate at New Delhi and Mumbai Central stations. The booking for the AC special trains shall be available only through IRCTC’s portal and not through the counters at reservation centres.
The fares applicable for each day/transaction shall be indicated at the time of booking on the IRCTC’s e-ticketing site. Catering shall be provided on-board and catering charges shall be part of the tariff. As the train is designed to clear the last minute peak time demand and has no stoppages en route, an official said no concession would be applicable. There will be no waitlisted tickets and there will be no refund except when the train is cancelled on railway account due to unforeseen circumstances or due to severe disturbances affecting operations. If the experiment becomes successful, railways plans to launch similar trains on other sectors like Delhi-Kolkata.