Indian Railways on Wednesday removed flexi fare scheme from 15 premium trains including 13 Shatabdis and two Durontos, where the average monthly occupancy rate is less than 50 percent throughout the year.
Railways said it has rationalised the flexi fare scheme based on the recommendation of a 8-member review committee, Comptroller and Auditor General's (CAG) report and representations from passengers.
The CAG had pulled up the railways in July for the flexi-fare scheme noting that the airfare for some of the routes were cheaper than the inflated train fares due to the dynamic pricing.
In its report for year ending March 2017, the CAG had stated that the introduction of the flexi-fare system in premium trains like Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto resulted in increase in passenger earnings in these trains, but there was a decline in the number of travellers.
Today, railways also said
flexi fare scheme will be removed from 32 trains during the lean months of February, March and August. These are the trains where the average monthly occupancy rate varies from 50-75 percent and include trains such as Kalka Shatabdi, Ajmer Shatabdi, Mumbai Duronto, Rajdhani Express among others.
Making the announcement on micro-blogging platform Twitter, union railway minister Piyush Goyal said, "As a gift to passengers this festive season, railways has decided to reduce Flexi Fares from 1.5 to 1.4 times the base ticket fare, and to completely remove Flexi Fares from trains with less than 50% occupancy."
"Win-Win Situation: The reduction of Flexi Fares is going to benefit both the passengers that can now avail tickets at cheaper rates, as well the Railways that will see a surge in demand and occupancy," Goyal said in another tweet.
On September 9, 2016, the railways had introduced
flexi-fare for premier trains: 44 Rajdhani, 52 Duronto and 46 Shatabdi Express trains.
Under this, the base fare increases by 10 percent with every 10 percent of berths sold, subject to a prescribed limit. There was no change in the existing fare for first AC and economy class.
Today, railways has also announced graded discount of 20 percent on last fare on all trains with flexi fare and Humsafar trains, where occupancy of a particular class is less than 60 percent, four days prior to scheduled departure of the train.
Further, for up to 70 percent occupancy, 20 percent discount on last fare and for 70-80 percent occupancy, 10 percent discount on last fare will be offered.Changes will be implemented from advance reservation period on an experimental basis for six months to be further extended after assessing its outcome, railways said.