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Railways mulling flexi fares for all trains

Indian Railways is considering introduction of dynamic fares for all classes in all trains on the lines of air fares. The plan was mooted after the success of premium trains and Suvidha though fares were expensive, sometimes touching levels that are just 50% lower than air fares on many of the short routes.

As passenger traffic has been dipping in the last few years across the country, railways is looking at different ways to generate revenue from passengers on high-density routes. Different suggestions are being mooted by the commercial wing of railway zones because railways has limitations in expanding its network. Passenger earnings went up by 8.5% in April-September period when compared to the corresponding period last year though the number of passengers dipped.

Sources said that railway ministry was discussing two options – introduction of dynamic fares, which will increase and decrease depending on the demand for tickets, and to introduce special fares for tickets booked closer to the departure date.

An official said that railways was working on different proposals to include in the budget. “The aim is to generate revenue and provide easy access to tickets for a large number of people. Under the current booking system there is duplication of booking wherein people or agents book tickets in multiple number of trains to ensure confirmed berths. Dynamic fares and tweaking of cancellation policy will boost revenue to railways and help genuine travelers.”

A senior railway official said that different options were being considered at different meetings. “A decision will be taken to form a policy only after considering all aspects of a proposal. The premium policy has changed from running premium trains last year to operating Suvidha special trains. This has been a success.”

The experience of Suvidha special trains in Southern Railway and on certain routes in South Western Railway under which Bengaluru falls have been encouraging. The patronage in spite of the cost of tickets showed that people were ready to pay to get a berth on trains. As most of the high density routes, for example Chennai-Madurai and Chennai-Thiruvananthapuram, have huge demand for seats and travelers are not cost conscious.

“The new cancellation and refund rules may be expensive but are designed to eliminate agents booking tickets. Under the existing practice, agents book tickets on many trains and will cancel and get their refunds after the train departs. Now, the left over tickets will be open for booking under current booking,” said an official.

The half-yearly performance of Indian Railways report for the period April to September this year shows that railways plans to generate 17.8% of the funds from internal resources. The report says that earnings from passenger operations have steadily increased in the last three years, from Rs 18,077 crore in 2013-14 to Rs 23,100 crore this year.

Officers are encouraged to come up with new ideas. Railways minister Suresh Prabhu has been delegating powers at functional level and meetings of officers of different zones are also being held frequently.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Railways-mulling-flexi-fares-for-all-trains/articleshow/49776189.cms

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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As Premium trains crash, Rlys rides Suvidha

The railways, having jumped on to the Suvidha train bandwagon, is now, at least in private, admitting that the earlier avatar of the scheme – the market-controlled dynamic fare premium concept — was ‘illogical’ and ‘extremely not passenger-friendly’. Started in December 2013 on the Mumbai-Delhi route, Premium trains hit passengers’ pockets deep. Fares often crossed the Rs 10,000-mark. dna gives a break-up of why the concept was the most illogical one.

Independent class structure

Singularly, the most illogical system. Under this structure, all classes — 2AC, 3AC and Sleeper — were considered as separate units while calculating the base price of a particular day or time of booking. Since people prefer lower classes – a hallmark of almost all developing economies – this structure created a situation where 3AC fares exceeded those of 2AC. For example, if 20 people are vying for a 2AC ticket costing Rs 1,500 and 30 people for a 3AC ticket costing Rs 1,000, the computer formula would decide that the demand for 3AC tickets had reached its peak and would promptly increase the price of 3AC tickets to the maximum Rs 3,000 – three times the fare. The same formula would decide that the demand for 2AC tickets are still away from peaking and would set its price at Rs 2,000. So, there will be hundreds of passengers buying 3AC tickets for Rs 3,000 and hundreds of others buying 2AC tickets for Rs 2,000.

Absolute secrecy in fare formula

Cloaked in absolute secrecy, the fare formula of Premium trains was set in a ‘take it or leave it’ manner on the IRCTC website.

Even today, most railways officials are unaware of the nitty-gritty of how the formula for the day’s fare is calculated. Moreover, the railways never informed passengers the rates for different classes at the time of booking. In fact, one of the instructions in the railway commercial circular 33/2015 on Suvidha trains is that ‘information should be displayed to the passenger during booking, in case the fare of the lower class becomes higher than the higher class’.

Abuse of monopoly

Blatantly abusing its monopoly, the railways decided that there would be no refund, once the ticket was booked, whatever be the reason (except only if the service gets cancelled).

No pantry car, yet pay catering charges

The Premium train fare would include catering charges, despite the fact that several premium trains were overnight ones and some others did not even have pantry cars. The result was that when other trains were running fully packed, with long waiting lists, Premium trains were running at 30 per cent occupancy levels. This left 70 per cent seats to perish, though there were twice that many passengers on the waiting list for other trains.

On silent mode

In private, officials admit that the premium fare concept and its lack of logic just showed how incompetent several senior commercial as well as Railway Board officials were when it came to trying to get the railways out of the financial mess it was in. Mails sent to railway minister Suresh Prabhu and messages sent to Kundan Sinha, member (traffic), railway board, did not elicit any response.

The Suvidha scheme

The new Suvidha scheme, running since end-July and expected to peak during the forthcoming Diwali-Dussera-Christmas season, appears logical, at least on paper, though it is still early days. The fare system follows the ‘bucket’ format. It means that the entire ticketing is broken up into five parts – or buckets- with a proportionate increase for every bucket. The base fare is fixed at the tatkal fare of the top-most train on the same route. The first 20 per cent tickets will be sold at this price. The next 20 per cent will be 1.5 times the base fare. The third bucket of 20 per cent will be 2 times the base fare, the fourth 2.5 times, and the last 20 per cent 3 times the base fare. The Suvidha system provides for refunds, RAC tickets and non-compulsory catering charges.

http://epaper.dnaindia.com/story.aspx?edorsup=Sup&queryed=820009&ed_page=1&boxid=41011&id=83169&eddate=2015-10-6&ed_date=2015-10-6&ed_code=820009&wintype=popup

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Punjab govt asks its employees not to travel in premium trains

The Punjab Government today issued a clarification that government servants on duty/tour/transfer are not allowed to travel in premium trains.

Disclosing this here an official spokesman of Punjab Government said that Government servants were not allowed to travel in premium trains during their Official duty/training/transfers etc. He said that therefore the fare charged for premium trains by Indian Railways for the journey shall not be reimbursed.

The spokesman said that in cases where journey on duty/training/tour/transfers etc has already been performed by premium trains , the amount reimbursed shall be restricted to the admissible normal fare for the entitled class of the train travel or the actual fair paid whichever is less.

http://punjabnewsexpress.com/punjab/news/punjab-govt-asks-its-employees-not-to-travel-in-premium-trains-43512.aspx

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Indian Railways may be running many premium trains on loss

Despite an overall operating ratio of 91 per cent, Indian Railways (IR) might be running many of its premium express trains, including Rajdhani, and Duronto, on losses, which remain hidden in the absence of a train-wise cost-benefit analysis done by the transporter.

The high-level committee on railway restructuring under member has said in its report eight of the 16 Rajdhani, Shatabdi and express trains are incurring operational losses per trip.

“Before a decision is taken to introduce a new train or eliminate an existing one, such an exercise should be automatic and mandatory. It is not impossible to do. However, the present system sees no reason to do it,” Debroy has said in the report, to argue IR does not carry out costing based on commercial principles even where it is possible.

The panel has pointed out costing of trains as an example. “One does not quite know how much a specific train costs. In the present costing system, all annual expenses are allocated to different services and one thus arrives at a unit cost for trains. The revenue figures are easier to determine. However, since one does not know how much a specific train costs, one does not know how much of profits a specific train brings in. This is true of both passenger and freight trains,” it said.

The committee, therefore, got the rail ministry to do a tentative per-trip cost analysis for 16 trains, including six Duronto, five Shatabdi and six express trains. All the five Duronto trains were found to be running at costs higher than revenue generated per trip. The losses ranged between Rs 33,204 and Rs 10,90,480 for individual trains.

Also, while two of the six Rajdhani trains were making losses, only one Shatabdi train of the five studied had costs higher than revenue. “This is part of a broader malaise, since the Railways does not follow a commercial accounting system. Therefore, one does not quite know the accounts for fixed railway infrastructure, passenger traffic, freight traffic, suburban railways and the production and construction units,” the report said.

In order to highlight the larger need for reforms, the panel has also highlighted how the Kolkata Metro is running at an operating ratio of a staggering 300 per cent. That means, the Metro system spends Rs 300 for every Rs 100 it earns.

The Debroy panel report, submitted to the rail ministry last week, has recommended multiple reform initiatives, including rationalisation of the workforce, setting up an independent regulator and reorganisation of railway services.

Business Standard
 
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Posted by on June 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Rail tatkal ticket: Booking timings revised; 50% refund on cancellation

Indian Railways has changed the timing for booking tatkal tickets adding that now customers can get refund for cancellation of the same. As per the new schedule, booking for AC classes will commence at 10 am and close at 11 am while for the non-AC classes, booking will commence at 11 am and close at 12 pm.

Furthermore, the refund policy on cancellation of tatkal tickets have also been changed, as per sources.

The Railways does not give any refund on cancellation of confirmed Tatkal tickets, however, reports are pouring that henceforth 50 percent refund will be granted.

Railways will soon launch its ’Tatkal Special’ train service, travelling on which will be dearer than on normal trains.

The cash-strapped public transporter will make special trains on tatkal fares operational for certain busy routes, said a senior Railway ministry official.

While ‘Premium’ trains — tickets for which are priced as per a dynamic fare structure — are already operational, the Tatkal Special trains will be an additional service to cater to the rush.

A passenger would have to dole out more for a Tatkal service ticket as the rates for these are higher than the normal fare by anything in the range of Rs. 175 and Rs. 400.

The Tatkal rate is 10 percent of the basic fare for the Second class and 30 percent of the basic fare for all other classes, including AC category, said the official.

However, while tickets may only be booked online for the Premium trains, Tatkal Special tickets will be available both at railway ticket counters and online.

The Railways has also relaxed the advance reservation period for Tatkal Special trains.

Currently, a Tatkal ticket can be booked no more than 24 hours before the journey. But for a Tatkal Special train, advance reservation period is of a minimum 10 days and maximum 60 days.

With PTI Inputs

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Indian Railways relaunch premium trains as Suvidha”; new schemes on offering too!

In a relief to passengers, Indian Railways has now converted premium train service to ‘Suvidha’ thus nulling the formalities required earlier.

On Tuesday, Railways issued a notification regarding the same and the trains regarding the same will run on tracks from July 1.

30 days advance reservation

Like premium trains, passengers will get confirm and RAC tickets in ‘Suvidha’ trains. No waiting list ticket will be given. Zonal Railways have also been given some concession i.e. they can run these trains in 10 and 30 days on prior notice i.e. advance registration can be done in 10 or 30 days’ time.

Ticket from Railway Counters

No modification of this ticket will be allowed. However, now besides getting it online you can also get the ticket from Railway counter. The train will also run on those tracks where premium trains got more than 80% traffic.

Fares 

In terms of fares there will be three provisions. First train basic fares will include Rajdhani’s basic fare and tatkal charges. Second category will include Duranto’s basic and tatkal charges. Third category will include Mail Express basic and tatkal charges.

Slabs

Unlike dynamic fare system, the fares will be divided into 5 slabs of 20-20 ratio. First 20% seats will be booked on basic fares. After every 20% seat bookings, the fares will go up. In case of cancellation, 50% amount will be refunded.

News Nation

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Premium train tickets to not have dynamic fare

Due to high ticket pricing in premium trains, Indian Railways has decided to rationalize the dynamic fare system by starting a slab system. It will allow people to book premium train tickets from reservation counters and providing a window of 30 days for advance booking instead of 10 day at present.

Premium trains come with dynamic pricing where price of the ticket is linked with demand.

Premium trains were introduced to accommodate plans of last minute travellers. The trains were launched during the fag end of UPA regime by the then railway minister Malikarjun Kharge.

But it has been observed that prices sky rocketed with increase in demand and at times fare of 3AC was more than 2AC. Ministry, therefore, has decided to do away with the demand based pricing and have a slab system, whereby, fare will remain same for a particular number of seats despite increase in demand. The facility will be available from July 1.

Besides, premium trains will now be called Suvidha express.

TOI

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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