In a revamp of its passenger fare framework, Indian Railways will step ahead on concession-less service with the launch of Suvidha trains, the rechristened premium trains run on dynamic fare system, from July 15.
The introduction of the new service will also make waitlisted tickets a thing of the past.
While concessions will continue in all other trains as at present, there will be no concessions for Suvidha service.
These trains, which will cater to the peak demand observed during winter and summer rush, and festivals like Dussehra and Holi and run on select routes, are being currently identified.
“The idea is to cater to the premium passengers, including short-notice travellers, in order to give them better service and assured tickets, and earn additional revenue in the process,” said a senior rail ministry official.
The railways will issue only confirmed and reservation against cancellation tickets for Suvidha trains. Since the trains are meant to serve passengers travelling at short notice, the advanced reservation period has been cut down to a maximum of 30 days and a minimum of 10 days.
According to the ministry’s circular, no concession will be applicable on these trains and full adult fare will be changed for all passengers, irrespective of age.
Also, free or complimentary passes will not be permitted in these trains. Further, only general quota bookings will be applicable and there will also be no first AC, first class, executive class, general class, 2nd sitting coach in the composition of Suvidha trains.
Indian Railways currently runs Duronto trains without concessionary tickets and Rajdhanis with a few minor concessions.
The official said Suvidha trains will completely replace premium trains, which are already being run on select 50-odd routes, but with a modified fare framework.
The rail ministry had introduced the premium train service with dynamic fare system, under which fares were increased with increasing demand, over a year back. Railways, however, started facing issues as it was observed that higher demand pushed third-AC fares higher than second-AC class.
“Also, it was observed that multiple bookings by a single-user are jacking up prices.
"Therefore, we have introduced a new system of slab-wise fares in Suvidha trains,” the official said.
Under the changed structure, railways will run three types of Suvidha trains: full AC trains without stops charging Rajdhani base fare and Tatkal charges; mixed service with no stops charging Duronto base fare and Tatkal charges; and mixed service with some stops charging base fare of mail and express trains, and Tatkal charges.
Passengers would have to pay the cost of base fare and Tatkal charges for the first 20 per cent seats; one-and-a-half times the cost of base fare and Tatkal for the next 20 per cent seats; two times the cost of base fare and Tatkal charges for the next 20 per cent.
Similarly, for the last two slabs of seat availability, passengers would pay two-and-a-half to three times the cost of base fare and Tatkal charges respectively.
“This will ensure fares are not automatically increased until all the seats in a particular slab are filled,” the official explained.
Image: Rajdhani Express; Photograph: Hari KRK/Wikimedia Commons