Faced with many vacant seats, railways is mulling to reserve about 50 per cent berths in premier trains including Rajdhani for normal fare by making changes in the prevailing flexi-fare system. Currently flexi-fare system is applicable in Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains since September 9 last year which allows only 10 per cent of the seats to be sold in the normal fare and thereafter it will go on increasing by 10 per cent with every 10 per cent of berths sold with a ceiling of 50 per cent.
Taking note of vacant seats in long distance Rajdhani and Duronto trains and a few Shatabdis, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has recently sought a review of the flexi-fare system. The initial review has indicated that revenue has increased at the cost of loss of occupancy in some of the trains and Railway Minister wanted to rectify it, said a senior Railway Ministry official. Railways has earned about Rs 260 crore from flexi-fare system till date and aimed to touch Rs 500 cr in a year.
“We are trying to make the premier service more passenger friendly with a few changes so that occupancy rate will go up,” he said. About the possible changes, he said “There a few options including keeping at least 50 per cent seats in normal fare. However, no decision has been taken as yet.”
Earlier in December, railways had revised the flexi faresytem by offering 10 per cent rebate on vacant berths after finalisation of the reservation charts to attract last minute passengers.