NEW DELHI: In a big relief to passengers, the railway has decided to remove flexi fare in 15 premium trains and has reduced the highest slab in other premium trains.
“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,” tweeted Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.
The decision was taken in view of the decline in occupancy in premium trains after the fares increased up to 50 per cent.
The flexi fare was introduced on September 9, 2016, in Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains. During 2016-17 (September-March), 2017-18 and 2018-19 (April-June), the railways earned approximately `371 crore, Rs 860 crore and Rs 262 crore, respectively, as additional revenues from trains having flexi fare.
But the scheme led to a big drop in passengers and to rationalise the fares, an eight-member committee was formed to review the scheme and make it more passenger friendly.
Under the new formula, the base fare increases from 10 per cent to 50 per cent with every 10 per cent of the berths booked.
The Railway Board said the highest slab has now been reduced from 50 per cent to 40 per cent. In 32 trains, flexi fare will be reduced during the months of February, March and August.
The review of the scheme has been done based on the recommendation of the committee, CAG report and representations from passengers, the railways said.
Concerns were raised over the flexi fare system as it brought down the occupancy in premium trains, even as fares in some sectors surpassed even airfares. A parliamentary standing committee report criticised the railways for charging more than airfares in premium trains while the services remained poor.
A recent CAG report pulled up the railways saying there had been a drop in occupancy in all classes except sleeper. It said that 2,47,36,469 passengers travelled prior to flexi fare compared to 2,40,79,899 passengers during flexi period.