Centre to review flexi-fares on select trains

Centre to review flexi-fares on select trains: (The Hindu)

Context

The Union government will review the flexi-fare system introduced in premium trains last year.

Reviewing flexi-fare system system

  • The Railways were also planning to reset its timetable by reducing the travel time for 600-700 trains through rescheduling and increasing speed.
  • Discussions were held to review flexi-fare system in a way that passengers do not face inconvenience and the Railways are able to meet its revenues.
  • The government is not considering any hike in the rail fares at present.

What is the background?

  • The Railways introduced the flexi-fare scheme in September last year in Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi trains.
  • Under it, 10% of the seats were sold at normal fare.
  • The fare was increased thereafter by 10% for every 10% of the berths sold.
  • The highest fare was 50% more than the normal price of the ticket.
  • The Railways had delayed the release of its timetable by a month to redraft it focussing on speed and efficiency.

What are the other priorities?

  • The Railways are also in discussions with the Indian Space Research Organisation to use GPS technology to monitor trains for punctuality.
  • The preliminary assessment is that travel time will be reduced on 600-700 trains when we increase train speed and rewrite the timetable via organisation research keeping in mind efficiency and better utilisation of rail assets.
  • The timetable would also be realigned keeping railway safety in mind so that stoppage of traffic for maintenance work gets priority.

What is the Importance of the move?

This move holds importance in the light of derailment of the Utkal Express near the Khatauli railway station in Uttar Pradesh that killed at least 21 people and injured many more people.

  • The preliminary investigation had found that the Khatauli station officials did not allow stoppage of traffic for repairs and the maintenance team started working on the track without due permission.
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