The latest hike in railway fares comes at a time when domestic carriers are involved in a cut-throat competition to woo the passengers. Post-hike, the difference between an air ticket and an AC II train fare has come down substantially, provided one plans the travel dates in advance.
For example, a Delhi-Mumbai AC II fare, post the latest hike, would cost Rs. 2,788 while an air ticket to Mumbai, if booked a month in advance, would cost Rs. 3,340.
Likewise, a Delhi-Bangalore AC II train ticket will cost Rs. 3,991 while an air ticket would cost Rs. 4,851.
“Passengers won’t mind paying a few hundred extra bucks if they get to travel by air and reach the destination within a couple of hours as compared to a whole day journey by train,” said Subhash Goyal, Chairman, STIC Travel Group.
Airlines have been also been doling out promotional fares on a regular basis since January this year.
AirAsia India opened bookings for the Bangalore-Goa and Bangalore-Chennai sectors with a dramatic Rs. 5 promotional fare.
Market leader IndiGo responded with its own promotional offer of Rs. 1 tickets on the same sectors.
Adding airport taxes and fees, AirAsia India’s promotional Bangalore-Goa ticket cost Rs. 490, while Goa-Bangalore ticket cost Rs. 291. An all-inclusive Chennai-Bangalore ticket cost Rs. 339.
The airline is offering an-inclusive fare of Rs. 500 on the Bangalore-Kochi sector where it launches operations from July 20.
SpiceJet, which has launched over a dozen sales this year, came up with yet another sale on Tuesday with fares starting at Rs. 1,999. IndiGo followed suit by offering fares from Rs. 1,724.
“Many would seriously think of travelling by air now when the fare difference is negligible. The railway fare hike will actually boost air travel,” said Goyal.