The Railways is inclined to review its dynamic fare system called “flexi fares”, its minister Piyush Goyal said on Thursday, after repeated complaints that tickets become too costly too early in the waiting period and cheaper tickets get exhausted too fast.
“There is a possibility of changes in the flexi fares system,” Goyal told the media while responding to questions whether the system would be reviewed. “We will discuss how it can be made better, people are not inconvenienced and at the same time the Railways’ revenue is not impacted,” he said.
Railway officials said that as it has been a year since the rollout of the dynamic fare system for long-distance trains, it would be up for a review. There is a possibility that the number of tickets earmarked for lower fares might be increased, the sources said.
The flexi-fare system has earned the Railways an additional Rs 600 crore in the last one year even without a blanket hike in passenger fares.
Goyal said safety was of topmost priority. “We will carry out track renewal. Money and budget are no constraints for that. In fact, all traffic blocks for track maintenance work would be given,” he said.
The Railways, along with the finance ministry, have earmarked Rs 1 lakh crore as a special fund for safety upgrade to be spent in five years.
Teams of railway officials will travel abroad to scout the best global technologies for India with a view to enhance safety and systems upgrade.
“Ultrasonic track diagnostics will happen, which will enable our people more in maintenance of tracks,” he said. “Trackmen will be given proper safety kits, and like army jawans, the kits will carry nutritious food,” he said.
Goyal said he was in the process of devising a faster way of implementing the station development project for which the ministry would be approaching the cabinet soon. He said railway stations would be integrated into the overall development model in a way that a station wifi would be made available to people of the nearby villages for children to study.