In a move to offer relief to passengers, the fares of AC chair cars and executive classes on all trains, including Vande Bharat, along with Anubhuti and Vistadome coaches, will be reduced by up to 25 per cent, according to a recent order by the Railway Board.
The extent of the reduction will depend on the occupancy levels and fares of competitive modes of transport, the order said.
With the aim of optimising accommodation utilisation, the railway ministry has empowered principal chief commercial managers of railway zones to introduce discounted fare schemes for trains with AC seating.
The scheme will apply to AC chair car and executive classes on all trains equipped with AC seating, including Anubhuti and Vistadome coaches, as per the Railway Board order.
The discount, up to a maximum of 25 per cent on the basic fare, will be applied. Additional charges such as reservation fees, super-fast surcharges, GST, etc., will be levied separately. The discount may be provided in any or all classes based on the occupancy levels.
The order specifies that trains with occupancy less than 50 per cent in the last 30 days, either end-to-end or in specific legs/sections, will be considered. The fares of competitive modes of transport will serve as the benchmark for determining the discount percentage.
The discount can be applicable for the first and/or last leg of the journey, intermediate sections, and/or the entire journey if the occupancy is less than 50 per cent in the corresponding leg/section.
The implementation of the discount will be immediate. However, no fare refunds will be provided for passengers who have already booked their tickets.
In cases where flexi fare is applicable in a particular class and the occupancy is low, the scheme can initially be withdrawn to boost occupancy. This scheme will not be applicable to special trains introduced for holidays or festivals.