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Centre to review flexi-fares on select trains, says Goyal

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New Delhi, Sep 29: The Union government will review the flexi-fare system introduced in premium trains last year, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said on Thursday. The Railways were also planning to reset its timetable by reducing the travel time for 600-700 trains through rescheduling and increasing speed, he said. “We are holding discussions to review flexi-fare system in a way that passengers do not face inconvenience and the Railways are also able to meet its revenues. There are chances of a few changes in the flexi-fare system,” Mr. Goyal said at a press conference. Minister of State Railways Manoj Sinha said the government was not considering any hike in the rail fares at present.

The Railways introduced the flexi-fare scheme in September last year in Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi trains, under which 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 November 1 to redraft it focussing on speed and efficiency. The Railways are also in discussions with the Indian Space Research Organisation to use GPS technology to monitor trains for punctuality.

“My 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,” Mr. Goyal said, adding that around 48 ordinary mail or express trains would be upgraded to “superfast services.”

The timetable would also be realigned keeping railway safety in mind so that stoppage of traffic for maintenance work gets priority. “We have ordered that whenever a safety team demands a traffic block, it should be immediately given,” Mr. Goyal announced.

This move holds importance in the light of derailment of Utkal Express near the Khatauli railway station in Uttar Pradesh that killed at least 21 people and injured more than 90 in August. The preliminary probe 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.

Source The Hindu

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