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News Entry# 287706
Dec 05 2016 (13:00)  Dynamic fare plan for Rajdhani Express fails to set railway cash registers ringing (
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News Entry# 287706     
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MUMBAI: The Railways' decision to introduce flexi fares on Rajdhani Express and August Kranti Rajdhani (AKR) Express to increase its earnings does not seem to have helped much. Though the revenue has seen a modest surge, it has come at a cost of drop in 2-tier AC passengers.
Flexi fares were introduced on Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains by the railway ministry from September 9. A senior official said, "Between September 9 and November 19, the earnings of Mumbai-Delhi Rajdhani Express increased by Rs 2 crore as compared to the Rs 17.01 crore revenue during the same period last year. The earnings for AKR, which runs between Mumbai Central and Hazrat Nizamuddin stations, increased marginally from Rs 17.12 crore during the
same period in 2015 to Rs 17.91 core."
The data also shows that the biggest drop in passengers was in the 2-tier AC category. Between September 9 and November 19, the number of 2-tier passengers on the Rajdhani Express dipped to 18,771 from 20,453 during the same period last year, a 8.2% drop. On AKR Express, the drop was 15.53% from 21,934 in 2015 to 18,527 this year.
Another official said, "The surge pricing needs to be tweaked as fares should go down if there is no demand. Due to the present system, we are losing to airlines."
The response has been particularly poor during the non-peak season with a dip being seen in all categories, shows data. Between September 9 and October 15, the cumulative passenger count in all classes of Rajdhani Express dropped by 6.58% and AKR Express by 17% as against the figures recorded last year during the same period. During the September 9-October 15 period, the biggest drop was again in the 2-tier AC category at 20% on Rajdhani Express as passengers dropped from 10,112 in 2015 to 8,100 this year.
The September to October earnings for 2-tier AC category of the train also dropped by 14% to Rs 2.14 crore as compared to last year. On AKR Express, the passenger count in 2-tier AC dropped nearly 30% per cent as 7,654 people travelled this year as compared to 10,859 last year during the September-October period, bringing down the earnings by 25% to Rs 1.89 crore.
The official said, "The numbers may look somewhat decent due to heavy demand during festive season. A look at the non-peak season figures has exposed the chinks in the flexi-pricing policy."
Ghatkopar resident EL Ryan said, "I am getting a 5pm flight ticket for December 17 for Rs 3,046 as against a 2-tier AC Rajdhani ticket for Rs 4,105. The 3-tier AC ticket is cheaper at Rs 2,765. But obviously, I will prefer to take a flight."
A railway official said, "Several passengers have also downgraded from 2-tier to 3-tier as there is not much of a difference in quality except in the number of berths." The demand for 1st class AC has remained unaffected by the surge pricing as it scores higher on comfort level and privacy."
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