The Indian Railway Board on Saturday declared that it has decided to reduce the fares of all trains, including Vande Bharat. It stated that fares of AC chair car, executive classes will be reduced by 25% . The railways added that this move was a part of a discounted fare scheme in trains that saw below 50% occupancy during the past 30 days.
In a bid to optimise utilization of accommodation in trains, the Railway ministry asserted that it has decided to delegate powers to Zonal Railways to initiate discounted fare schemes in trains with AC sitting accommodation. The ministry added that the discount under the aegis of this scheme will be applied to the basic fare.
Other charges like reservation charges, Super fast surcharges, GST etc will be levied separately. Furthermore, trains having occupancy less than 50% during the past 30 days will be taken into consideration. The Board further clarified that the fares of the competitive mode of transport shall be the criteria while deciding the quantum of discount.
The board further noted that the discount can be given for the first and/or last leg of the journey, and/or intermediate sections and/or end-to-end journey considering the occupancy is less than 50 per cent in that leg or section or end-to-end. It also asserted that the discount shall be implemented with an immediate effect. Nonetheless, no refund of fare shall be admissible for already booked passengers. In case of trains where flexi fare is applicable in a particular class and the occupancy is less, the scheme can be withdrawn initially as an attempt to increase the occupancy.
Notably, as far as data is concerned, it depicts that the occupancy rate of the recently introduced Vande Bharat Express trains on four new routes, namely Indore-Bhopal, Jabalpur-Bhopal, and Madgaon-Mumbai has registered a very low occupancy rate at 21% to 55%.
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