Indian Railways is nearing the final stage to dilute the flexi-fare scheme which was announced in September 2016. This is expected to bring down train fares to a large extent. Financial Express reported that Minister of Railways, Piyush Goyal, is expected to take a final call soon.
Railway Board has sent a final list of recommendations to the minister. Modifications are to be introduced according to the pattern of demands for trains.
More than a hundred trains are supposedly eligible for the scheme. Almost 40 trains will lose the flexi-fare scheme, and more than 100 trains will then offer a 50 per cent discount on last-minute booking. This will be applicable four days prior to the departure date. For trains with low occupancy, a discount scheme is likely to be rolled out. The Chennai-Mysuru Shatabdi express’s occupancy shot up when the flexi-fare scheme was loosened.
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.