The Railways on Wednesday introduced the surge pricing system on the Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi trains with effect from September 9.
Under the new ‘flexi fare system’, usually followed by airlines, the base fare of tickets will increase with the rising demand. The new fare structure will, however, not be applicable to 1AC and executive class coaches.
“The base fares will increase 10 per cent with every 10 per cent of berths sold,” the Railway Ministry said in a statement. Fares can go up to a maximum of 1.5 times the original base fare. The flexi fare will not apply to tickets already issued for journeys to commence on or after Friday.
While the first 10 per cent of the seats will be sold at the normal fare, the base fare will increase by 10 per cent with every 10 per cent of berths sold. Once half the tickets are sold, the rest will be sold at 1.5 times higher base fares for 2S, sleeper and 2AC coaches, and 1.4 times higher for 3AC coaches.
Other supplementary charges such as reservation fee, superfast charge, catering charge, and service tax shall be levied separately. For tatkal booking, while no tatkal charges will be applicable, the fares for seats under tatkal quota will be “1.5 times of the base fares for all the classes, except 1AC and the executive class.”
The revised pricing system may lead to passengers moving away to airlines from the Railways network. There are a total of 42 Rajdhani, 46 Shatabdi and 54 Duronto trains.
Similarly, in the same train, the fares for 2AC can go up to Rs. 4,054 from Rs. 2,870 at present. Ticket for travel in 1AC coach in the same train costs Rs. 4,755 at present.
According to a travel portal, as many as four airlines offered fares in the range of Rs. 2,245-Rs. 2,550 for travel on September 14 between Delhi and Mumbai.
The new fare system will affect the sleeper class passengers of Duronto trains too. The fares for a passenger on MAS Duronto Express for travel between Delhi and Chennai can go up to Rs. 1,617 from Rs. 1,210 at present.
“All transport systems have dynamic fare pricing at present and the Indian Railways is also moving in that direction. Our Suvidha trains run on a dynamic fare structure under which surge pricing goes up to 3.9 times,” Railway Board Member (Traffic) Mohammad Jamshed said.
The Railway Ministry said it will display information to passengers during the booking “in case the fare of lower class becomes higher than the higher class to exercise option to travel by the higher class.”