Railways to revisit flexi-fare scheme, increase speeds of 700 trains: Piyush Goyal
Goyal said measures will be taken to improve passenger safety, and also declared plans to increase speeds of 700 Mail and Express trains from November 1.
The railways will revisit its surge-pricing model and increase the average speeds of hundreds of its mail and express trains, its new minister Piyush Goyal said on Thursday while speaking about his plans to “transform” the network.
Goyal took over shortly after problems of safety emerged in the spotlight following a string of disruptions earlier this year.
The railways rolled out a flexi-fare scheme last November, by which ticket prices would increase in direct correlation to how many people made bookings in a particular train. The scheme yielded additional revenues of approximately Rs 500 crore but fewer people rode in the premier Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duranto trains since its launch.
“We are considering options to rationalise the scheme”, Goyal said at a press conference.
He said a series of measures will be taken to improve passenger safety, and also declared plans to increase speeds of 700 Mail and Express trains from November 1.
Of these, 48 trains will be upgraded as “superfast trains”. The superfast trains will also cost more.
During the UPA-I government when Lalu Prasad was the railways minister, a large number of mail and express trains had similarly been upgraded as superfast trains. The move enabled the railways to generate additional revenues.
Speaking on passenger safety, Goyal said that all unmanned crossings will be eliminated in a time-bound manner and technology-upgrade plans such as installation of the anti-collision Train Protection and Warning Systems in locomotives would be accelerated.
Overriding priority will be accorded to granting “maintenance blocks” on tracks in order to provide for adequate time to conduct routine repairs and officers will be taking field inspections on a regular basis, the minister said.