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Railways

Railways says goodbye to flexi-fares, here's why you should be happy

End of dynamic pricing

End of dynamic pricing

There’s good news in offing for rail passengers. The national transporter is set to scrap the flexi-fare — called dynamic pricing — plan on 40 trains, representing nearly a third of the total number of premium trains covered by the scheme, as it drove away passengers by making rail fares costlier than airline tickets.

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BCCL
More offers and discounts

More offers and discounts

That’s not all. For the remaining 102 trains under the scheme, the railways is going to offer up to 50% discount for ‘last-minute’ bookings made for seats available up to four days before the journey.

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Graded discounts

Graded discounts

There is also a graded discount system being put in place for trains that see less than 60% bookings.

Under this scheme, up to 20% discount could be available. The scheme was introduced for 44 Rajdhani, 46 Shatabdi and 52 Duronto trains — all in premium super-fast category — on September 9, 2016. Rajdhanis and Shatabdis are entirely air-conditioned trains, while Durantos have a mix of AC and non-AC coaches.

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Making railways unpopular since 2016

Making railways unpopular since 2016

The flexi-fare scheme was announced in September 2016. The scheme is now being scrapped for trains that have shown 50% “utilisation” — a euphemism for bookings. Similarly, the plan is being tweaked to offer convenience and competitive fares to travellers and raise revenue for the railways.

In terms of absolute numbers, the premier trains carried 2.40 crore passengers during post-flexi period (September 9, 2016 to July 31, 2017) as compared to 2.47 crore passengers during pre-flexi period (September 9, 2015 to July 31, 2016), said the CAG in its report.

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Rail vs air

Rail vs air

Flexi-fare scheme increases the price of the train ticket as bookings grow. This has been criticised by many. For trains like Shatabdi, Rajdhani and Duronto, fare increases by 10 per cent as every 10 per cent berths are sold.

Air travel has been preferred by many since the introduction of the scheme because it is way cheaper to take a flight than a train. A Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report has recently criticised the scheme. The body has asked the railways to rationalise the scheme and continue it only on routes where the need arises.

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