No rolling back of flexi-fare scheme in premium trains: Official

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New Delhi : The railways has ruled out the idea of rolling back the flexi-fare scheme on reserved tickets of its premium trains, officials said on Tuesday.

The flexi-fare scheme in the premium trains is going to stay, a senior Railway Ministry official said requesting anonymity.

He said that the flexi-fare scheme is available only for 168 trains out of 12,500 trains -- mail or express.

Hence it makes only 1.5 per cent of the total train, the official said.

He also refuted reports pointing out that due to the flexi-fare scheme, the seats remained vacant in many premium trains.

The railways had on September 9, 2016, introduced flexi-fare for premier trains like 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 first AC and EC classes.

But on December 19, 2016, the railways started to provide 10 per cent rebate on any seat left vacant after preparation of the chart.

Earlier on July 20 this year, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its report, which was tabled in Parliament, highlighted that tickets on the Indian Railways' premium trains were much higher as compared to airfares.

Coming down heavily on the flexi-fare scheme of the Indian Railways, the CAG report said: "For the 120 advance reservation period (ARP) of 120 days, travel by air was found to be cheapest mode in 17 directions of travel.

"In the remaining nine directions though, the air fare was higher and the difference in fare was only up to Rs 600," it pointed out.

The government auditor also said that for 90 days ARP, travel was found to be cheapest mode in 18 directions of travel.

The report also highlighted that for the ARP of 60 days, travel by air was found to be cheapest mode in 19 directions and for 30 days ARP, travel by air was cheapest mode in 17 directions.