Dynamic fare system in Humsafar Express tains
Indian Railways is likely to introduce the dynamic fare system in Humsafar Express trains after witnessing a decline in its earnings. It is a special class service comprising three-tier AC sleeper coaches with added facilities to boost revenue. The first Humsafar Express between New Delhi and Gorakhpur - initially slated to be flagged off this month - is scheduled to be launched next month.
A senior Railway Ministry official's statement
"Manufacturing cost of these coaches with modern facilities is high, so there have to be special fares for these services which will be higher than that of regular trains."
The pricing for Humsafar trains would be dynamic
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, during the presentation of Rail Budget 2016-17, announced there would be seven Humsafar Express trains for inter-city overnight journey. The trains would be equipped with several additional facilities not available in other regular three-tier AC coaches. Prabhu said the pricing for Humsafar trains would be dynamic as there would be a provision of lower fares in case of vacant berths.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu's statement
"The modalities of fare structure are being finalized. We examined several options to fix the fare considering the high expenditure incurred on it. One option was to fix the fare at 20-30% per cent higher than the regular AC-3 fares. The other was dynamic pricing."
The maximum fare and minimum base fare
In the dynamic pricing system, the fares go up along with the demand and come down if there is a lack of demand. Suresh Prabhu said they were working out details to have a cap on the maximum fare and minimum base fare. Dynamic fares were introduced for Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains that resulted in additional earnings of over Rs.50 crore till Oct'16.
New interior and exterior color scheme for Humsafar Express
The Humsafar Express would reportedly have improved aesthetics with new interior and exterior color scheme that would present a futuristic look. Vinyl sheets similar to the coaches of the Maharaja Express would be used. The train would also have integrated braille displays. GPS-based passenger information system, CCTVs, fire and smoke detection and suppression system, charging points are few of the Humsafar Express's features.
Indian Railways' earnings
Indian Railways' earnings by the end of Sep'16 declined by Rs.3,208.51 crore compared to Sep'15. The Railways earned Rs.79,475.42 crore up to Sep'16 against Rs.76,268.91 crore for the same period last year - a decline of 4.04%.
PM Modi to flag off the train in Kushinagar
Prime Minister Narendra Modi would reportedly flag off the first Humsafar Express between New Delhi and Gorakhpur from Kushinagar, where he is expected to address a parivartan rally too. The tri-weekly train would comprise berths more comfortable than the previous AC-3 sleeper rakes and also bio-toilets in the compartments. Other facilities include vending machines in each cabin for coffee/tea/milk/soup, hot and refrigerated pantry.