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Posted at: Apr 9, 2019, 7:34 AM; last updated: Apr 9, 2019, 7:34 AM (IST)

Shatabdi fare dips, passengers cheer

Shatabdi fare dips, passengers cheer

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 8

The Railways has discontinued the flexi-fare system, also called dynamic pricing, in most of the Shatabdi trains plying between Delhi and Chandigarh and Delhi and Kalka beginning March 15, resulting in reduced fares on these trains. The flexi-fare system would sometimes cause ticket prices to skyrocket, discouraging passengers.

“Dynamic pricing has been completely discontinued on the trains 12006 and 12012 since March 15. It has been decided that the flexi fare on some other Shatabdis — 12005, 12045 and 12046 — will be discontinued during the lean months of February, March and August. The flexi-fare will remain in place on the train 12011 since it enjoys high occupancy-rate,” said a spokesperson of the Railways on the condition of anonymity. 

There has been a considerable dip in the prices since the announcement, for example boarding the morning Shatabdi from Chandigarh will now cost about Rs 595 while it would earlier cost up to Rs. 800.

Even though numbers reveal that the occupancy rates are picking up again after an initial dip in 2017-2018, according to a source in the railway ministry, the decision to do away with dynamic pricing is solely aimed at improving occupancy. The occupancy rates are calculated every six months, he added. 

The CAG report of 2017 had also flagged the dip in occupancy due to the introduction of the new pricing system.

According to Rajeev Sahni, a travel agent in Sector 32, passengers had begun to shift to other modes of transport after dynamic pricing had come into effect.

Passengers meanwhile have a reason to celebrate. 

“The Shatabdi is the most viable option for travel between Chandigarh and Delhi. And now with its reduced fare, it is bound to appeal to a greater number of people. I just hope that it is able to maintain its efficiency now with a greater demand for the service,” said Mukul Bhatia, a student who regularly takes the train.

The flexi fare was introduced in Shatabdi Express in September 2016. 

Under this pricing system, the base fare increases by 10 per cent for every 10 per cent seats that are booked. Thus when the demand was high, the fares of the Shatabdi Express have been known to shoot up to as high as Rs 1,000.

In 2018, there had been a discontinuation and reduction in the flexi fares of various Shatabdi, Duronto and Rajdhani trains.

Railways Minister Piyush Goyal had then tweeted the reasons behind the move included making cheaper tickets available to the passengers and increasing the occupancy rates.

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