BENGALURU: Fans of Golden Chariot, who have long yearned of a journey aboard the luxury train, will now be able to book a ticket as a decision by the Railway Board to operate it on revenue-sharing basis will allow the state government to introduce many changes to it — including dynamic and affordable fares.
The decision is expected to draw more tourists to the service, which has seen a paltry 30-35% occupancy over the last 10 years since its introduction in 2008.
According to a statement by the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC), the Golden Chariot was launched with an agreement signed by KSTDC with the Railways for five years initially. “The Railways imposed very high haulage charges on Golden Chariot from the very first run in 2008. As a result, the project had not been doing well since inception and tariff was also kept very high due to high operational cost.”
The Railways’ decision comes after repeated petitions by the state government to adopt the revenue-sharing policy or reduce haulage charges drastically. “The Railway Board has approved operation of Golden Chariot on revenue-sharing basis in the ration 56:44 between Railways and KSTDC. This will help us in getting more tourists and foreigners by adopting a more affordable tariff.
We are targeting 50 per cent occupancy in the coming two years besides increasing the number of tours from 10 in a year to more than 20. We will also consider short duration trips and weekend tours to encourage domestic tourists with destinations like Hampi, Badami and Mysuru on the cards,” said Tourism Minister Priyank Kharge. Golden Chariot is the only luxury train being operated in peninsular India. The project was kicked off in 2002 with the signing of an MoU between the Railways and KSTDC.