New Delhi: Over two months after Railway Minister Piyush Goyal announced that the flexi-fare scheme will be reviewed, the railways has set up a six-member committee to review the scheme, by comparing the prices with that of other modes of transport.
According to a railway board letter issued on December 11, the board has formed a six-member committee comprising two railway board officials along with Ravinder Goyal, Adviser, Niti Ayog; Meenakshi Malik, Executive Director, Revenue Management, Air India; S. Sriram, professor of transport economics and Iti Mani, Director, Revenue, Le Meridien, Delhi.
The committee will review the flexi-fare system and submit its report in 30 days.
“The broad terms and reference of the committee shall be to examine all options and recommend the best option keeping in mind passengers and railways’ interest”, the letter read.
On September 28, Goyal said the flexi-fare ticket pricing system would be reviewed soon.
“I have heard people complaining about the flexible fare ticketing system. We will soon take a decision on that,” Goyal had said.
The Minister also said that the prices in the flexi-fare system would be slashed.
On September 9, 2016, Railways introduced flexi-fare for premier trains – Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi.
Under this, the base fare increases by 10 per cent with every 10 per cent of berths sold, subject to a prescribed limit. There was no change in the existing fare for 1AC and EC class of travel.
But on December 19, Railways started to provide 10 per cent rebate on any seat left vacant after the preparation of the chart.
According to a railway ministry official, who wished not be named, due to the introduction of the flexi-fare in premium trains, the revenue share increased but it lost passengers as several berths in the trains remained vacant.
The letter also said: “The committee should assess the impact of implementation of flexi-fare in its current form with respect to revenue generated for the railways, impact on passengers in terms of their choice of the railways as a means of transport with increased fare.”
The committee will also explore ways to offer add-ons to passengers like loyalty benefits or deferred benefits for better patronage of the scheme.
The committee will also recommend if modifications or amendments can be brought to the flexi-fare system to offer passengers flexibility of rates during peak season, lean season or during week days or weekends or during festivals.
The committee has also been asked to review the fares of the Humsafar Express which was launched last year.