NEW DELHI: Faced with stiff competition from roadways and low-cost airlines, railways is set to offer up to 25 per cent discount in trains like Shatabdi Express, Tejas and Gatiman Express which have low occupancy to bump up ticket sales, according to a senior official.
The discount will be applicable in all trains with AC chair car and executive chair car, except the Chennai Central-Mysuru Shatabdi Express, Ahmedabad-Mumbai Shatabdi Express, and the New Jalpaiguri-Howrah Shatabdi Express in which existing discount schemes will be continued, the official said on Tuesday.
The discount will also be applicable on the Vande Bharat Express, which also has the AC CC and EC seating provided it runs on less than 50 per cent occupancy, the official said.
The Vande Bharat Express that runs between Delhi and Varanasi is the most patronized train on the route since its launch earlier this year.
The discount will be given on the base fare and charges like GST, reservation fee, superfast tariff and others will be levied separately, the official said.
"Trains with monthly occupancy of less than 50 per cent in the previous year are eligible for the discount," the official said.
The railway ministry has decided to delegate powers to the Principal Commercial Managers of the zones to introduce the discounted fare scheme in the identified trains.
However, it has laid down certain guidelines.
The competitive fare should be a criterion while deciding discounted prices, the ministry has said and has given permission to offer discounted fares on all parts of the journey, be it the first leg, intermediate sections or the last part, the official said.
The discount, the ministry has said, can be offered yearly, half-yearly, seasonally or during weekends.
Once the scheme is in place, no other discounts such as the graded discount in Shatabdi Express trains or flexi-fare will be applicable, the official said.
The zones have been asked to identify such trains with low occupancy by September 30, the ministry has said, adding that efforts should be made by the zones to ramp up occupancy.
The zones have also been asked to file a report after four months of implementing the scheme, the official said.
The railways had introduced a similar scheme while removing dynamic pricing from certain trains with low occupancy.
It had discontinued the flexi-fare scheme in 15 trains in which average unidirectional monthly occupancy was less than 50 per cent.