THE MOVE of the railway ministry to introduce the concept of flexi fare in Shatabdi, Rajdhani and Duronto trains has invited sharp criticism from city residents. There are three Shatabdi trains that ply from Chandigarh to New Delhi daily, apart from one Jan-Shatabdi.
As per the new system, which will come into effect from Friday, the basic fares will increase from 10 per cent to maximum 50 per cent with every 10 per cent of berths booked. The maximum basic price, which is currently Rs 408 for a chair car (CC) ticket from Chandigarh to New Delhi in the Shatabdi, will now be Rs 612.
The existing fare for Chandigarh-New Delhi for a CC ticket is around Rs 605 which according to the new fares could reach to approx Rs 810. In Tatkal, price of a CC ticket could increase upto maximum of Rs 940. There will be, however, no change in the existing fare for 1AC and executive class of travel.
On Thursday, passengers at Chandigarh Railways station criticised the move, terming it is “anti-passenger” and the government should have put the proposal on public domain for discussion before implementation.
“Indian Railways is not a private firm. However, they have started behaving like a private airline,” said S K Singh a government employee. “This is not a passenger-friendly move. It would make passengers feel cheated.”
Another resident Manoj Kumar, a computer professional, said the government was taking “irresponsible” steps. “We have seen in the past that government has increased the fares with a promise that they would improve on board services. But the services were never improved,” he said. “The move is shocking. There is a need to focus on provide better services to the passengers.”
“This is not a good step by the government and it would affect mostly those who books tickets in case of emergencies,” said Ridhima, a student. “The government should do a rethink.”
Amit Kumar, a medical professional, said the new move will promote “black marketing.” “Increase in price is not an issue. But, the services provide in the Shatabdi trains are not up to the mark,” he said. “The move will have positive and negative affects.”