Starting Friday, most Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto train tickets will cost 30-40% more than they do now. This dramatic rise is because the railways has introduced surge pricing on these trains for all classes except first class AC and executive chair car.
Under the scheme, dubbed “flexi fares” by the railways, the current base fares will increase by 10% with every 10% of berths sold, subject to a ceiling of 1.5 times the base fare, for most classes except third AC for which the ceiling will be 1.4. This means a half-empty train will still see fares at one-and-a-half times the current levels.
Back of the envelope calculations show that at the 1.5x level, Rajdhani and Duronto tickets will cost 42-43% more than they do now, while Shatabdi fares will rise by 32-33%. The change won’t apply to tickets already issued even if the journey is on or after that date. Most Rajdhanis and Durontos are fully booked, which means that passengers will have to shell out the highest fare. This is because only the base fares will be subject to surge pricing.
Other supplementary charges such as reservation charges, superfast charge, catering charges and service tax will be levied separately as they are now and there is no change in them.
The cash-strapped railways expects to mop up Rs 500 crore from this exercise and the decision to leave out 1st AC and executive class was taken because of the fear of losing passengers to airlines.
This also means that 2 tier AC tickets will cost almost as much as first class AC under the revised fares.
On the Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani, for instance, the current difference in the two fares is almost Rs 1,900.That will come down to just Rs 700 at the 1.5X rate in the surge pricing.
The revision in fares for these trains comes on the back of the increase in freight rates which helped the state run transporter to mop up Rs 4,000 crore. “We are trying to test the market through these trains,” said a senior ministry official, who did not wish to be identified.
Vacant berths left at the time of finalising the charts would be offered for current booking.
Tickets under current booking would be sold at the last price sold for that class and other supplementary charges such as reservation fee, superfast charges, catering charges, service tax shall be levied in full, according to a railways statement.”The information should also be displayed to the passenger 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,” it said.
The present limit of berths set aside for Tatkal quota in these trains remain unchanged and no additional “Tatkal charges” will be levied.
Berths under the Tatkal quota will be at the rate of 1.5 times the base fare for all classes (2S, SL, 2A, 3A and CC) except first class AC and executive class. There will be no premium Tatkal quota in these trains, the ministry said.
Normal concessions applicable on concessional tickets will be admissible on the base fare of the ticket at each stage according to the new formula.
The ministry said there will be no change in the existing refund rules.