For the first time, railways will experiment with dynamic fares on the pattern of airlines by operating AC special trains between Delhi and Mumbai from December 24 with costlier tickets to en cash the peak demand during festive season of Christmas and New Year.
There will be four trips from December 24, 2013 till Januray 2, 2014 of the premium AC special trains on the busy New Delhi-Mumbai sector, said a senior Railway Ministry official, adding ‘the tickets will be sold on higher rate than the existing rate as per the dynamic pricing policy.’
The premier AC special trains will have only AC-2 and AC-3 classes with Rajdhani like facility including catering.
The dynamic fares are prevalent in air fares and it is first time that railways have decided to run trains on the pattern of air fares.
The advance reservation period for this train will be 15 days only and the fare shall be equal to or higher than the Rajdhani Tatkal fare to begin with.
"The fare is also likely to increase depending on the demand intensity," said the official.
"We will be running four trips on December 24, 27, 30 and January 2 from Delhi and in return journey there will be three trips on December 26, 29 and January 1 on experimental basis," he said.
There will be no commercial stoppages en route for this train.
The trains shall originate and terminate at New Delhi and Mumbai Central stations.
The booking for the AC special trains shall be available only through IRCTC's portal and not through the counters at reservation centres.
The fares applicable for each day/transaction shall be indicated at the time of booking on the IRCTC's e-ticketing website.
Catering shall be provided on-board and catering charges shall be part of tariff like the premier service of Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains.
The official said as the train is designed to clear the last minute peak time demand and has no stoppages en route, no concession shall be applicable to this train.
There will be no waitlisted tickets and there will be no refund except when the train is cancelled on railway account due to unforeseen circumstances or due to severe disturbances affecting operations.
Dynamic pricing is already being applied in freight business.
Currently, the loss in passenger sector is touching Rs 26,000 crore (Rs 260 billion) in a year and it is being cross-subsidised from freight earnings.
"Passenger business should not be making loss.
“The waiting list of passengers is getting longer and longer, then why should passenger business making loss?" the official asked, adding many are willing to pay for travelling in safe and comfort.
He said if the experiment becomes successful then the similar trains will be launched on other sectors like Delhi-Kolkata.
The passengers are required to carry the prescribed original photo identity card which is used at the time of booking.
At present, there are two Rajdhani trains for Mumbai.