Flexi fare is applicable to only 141 of 13,452 trains and overall occupancy of Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto has registered a continuous increase since the launch of the scheme in September 2016, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal informed Parliament on Wednesday.
Replying to a question in the Lok Sabha on rising train fares, Goyal said flexi fare is applicable to 32 out of these 141 trains for nine months only.
He said presently there is no proposal to discontinue the scheme as it has generated additional earnings of Rs 2,426 crore since its introduction until June 2019.
"Railways and airlines are different modes of transport which are not comparable in terms of volume, connectivity as well as convenience. There is no fixed maximum limit on fare in airlines, whereas railways have fixed maximum fare throughout the year. Airline fare varies significantly depending on time of operation, stoppages, travel duration, origin–destination pair, carrier etc. Railways fares may or may not be higher than the air fare depending upon the class of travel as well as factors like peak/ lean periods. It is the choice of the passengers to opt either for railway or airlines as per their convenience and requirement," he said.
The average occupancy of all reserved accommodation including routes of flexi fare trains during 2015-2016 (non-flexi period) was 101.15 per cent which has gone up to 105.80 per cent in 2017-18 (flexi period), Goyal informed the House.
He also said that the number of passengers booked in the trains having flexi fare has registered an increase of 0.95 per cent for the period September 2016 to August 2018 (two full year flexi fare period before rationalization of the scheme) as compared to corresponding period of previous years (two full year non flexi fare period).
"Overall occupancy of Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains has registered a continuous increase since the inception of Flexi Fare. In 2019-2020 till June, such trains had an occupancy of 97.01 per cent," he said.
As of March 2019, the flexi fare scheme in Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains has been rationalised in which it has been discontinued in 15 trains for full year and from 32 trains during pre defined lean periods of February, March and August.
A maximum cap of flexi fare scheme has been reduced to 1.4 times in all flexi fare applicable classes.