The Railway Ministry's newly-introduced surge pricing system for the Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains kicks off on Friday. On Thursday, however, the ministry had said they will implement the "flexi fare" system on a trial basis only and review it after three months. "We have introduced the dynamic fare system on an experimental basis. We will review it after some time and see what necessary measures can be taken further," Railway Board Member (Traffic) Mohammad Jamshed told PTI.
Officials said the process was experimental for now and will apply to the three trains alone, according to India Today. This clarification comes a day after Opposition parties demanded a rollback of the new fare scheme. Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi alleged that the model was meant to "loot from the common man and give relief to his industrialist friends". Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted his opposition, saying, "I am in the Shatabdi right now. Spoke to several people. Everyone is against [the Narendra] Modi government's surge pricing."
Jamshed said the Railways expected to earn at least Rs 500 crore from the surge pricing this financial year. The Railway board member explained that the 77 pairs of the Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains accounted for only 0.6% of all the trains that run in the network, and that this experimental flexi fare scheme will apply to only 81 of the 12,000 passenger trains that operate every day, The Hindu reported.
Passengers travelling by Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains will have to pay an extra 10% to 50% (calculated on the base fare) under the dynamic surge pricing system, depending on the number of seats booked on the train. The new fares will apply for tickets booked on and after Friday, September 9.