With Premium-Tatkal, Railways brings in dynamic ticket pricing

| Updated on: Oct 03, 2014
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Fare will be 30% more than base rate; half of Tatkal tickets to go premium

More the demand, higher the price. This is the new rule by which the Railways will sell tickets through the ‘Premium Tatkal Scheme’, introduced from October 1.

Premium Tatkal tickets will be dynamically priced like airline fares — rising with demand. And, these tickets can be booked only online.

The minimum premium fare is the basic train fare plus the Tatkal charges, which vary from 10 per cent to 30 per cent with an upper limit depending on the class of travel. The maximum premium is up to 30 per cent of the base fare or ₹400 (whichever is higher).

The Railways has decided to sell half the Tatkal tickets on select trains on the time-table on a premium basis.

The trains are identified by the zonal railways. About 17 per cent of train tickets were available for Tatkal booking in 2013-14, and the Railways earned ₹1,298 crore.

Explaining the rationale of the latest move, Devi Prasad Pandey, Member, Traffic, Railway Board, told BusinessLine , “If people are shelling out extra money to touts for booking Tatkal tickets, we thought it would be better if they paid this premium to the Railways. Moreover, we are introducing Tatkal tickets on more trains.”

Unlike Tatkal tickets, there is no waitlisting in Premium-Tatkal tickets; this means an assured reserved berth. However, cancellations are also not allowed.

The Railways introduced the premium ticket concept in December 2013 to handle passenger traffic during peak demand season such as Christmas-New Year, Holi and summer vacations.

But these premium tickets are offered only for special trains running on select routes with a 10-day advance reservation window, and not on the trains listed on the time-table.

The response to premium trains has been mixed, as ticket prices touch 1.5 times the base fare, and sometimes even three times during peak periods.

Depending on the response to the Premium-Tatkal scheme, the Railways may also increase the number of tickets sold via this route

“Converting the entire Tatkal booking scheme into a dynamic pricing scheme was one of the options considered while introducing it,” Pandey said.

Meanwhile, of the 58-59 specials for the ongoing festival season, Durga Puja, Dasara and Diwali, 38-39 are premium trains, with tickets being sold dynamically, said Pandey.

The incremental earnings through the Premium-Tatkal scheme will be known over the next few days based on the passenger response.

Published on October 03, 2014

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