After mixed response from various stakeholders, the Indian Railways is reviewing the flexi-fare scheme even as nearly Rs 1,493 crore of additional revenue was earned since its introduction.
The flexi-fare scheme was introduced on Sept. 9, 2016 in Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains.
During the financial year 2016-17 (Sept. to March), 2017-18 and 2018-19 (April to June), the Railways earned approximately Rs 371 crore, Rs 860 crore and RS 262 crore, respectively, as additional earnings.
“There has been response from various quarters to the introduction of flexi-fare scheme. Further, review of the existing scheme is an ongoing and continuous process,” the government informed the Rajya Sabha.
There have been concerns as the scheme brought down occupancy in premium trains, even as fare in some sectors surpassed air fares.
A report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee criticised the Railways for charging more than air fare in premium trains without improvement in services. During 2016-17 and 2017-18, the growth of traffic earnings was not commensurate to the high growth of working expenses including pay, allowances and pension among others due to implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations.
To increase earnings, special arrangements were made for running of special train services during peak period and higher fares fixed for these trains. Suvidha trains are introduced on variable fare structure during the peak seasons depending on demand pattern. Humsafar, Tejas, Antyodaya and Mahamana Express were introduced on higher fare on cost recovery basis.
“The endeavour is to realise higher fare for better facility trains and to continue to provide service at affordable and economic rates to the common man,” the government said.