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Railway minister Mallikarjun Kharge may not take liberties in announcing new schemes, taking into account the poor financial health of the national transporter, but he is likely to announce premium trains with a dynamic pricing policy on 40 routes in the upcoming railway vote-on-account.
The railways had recently done a pilot run of these premium trains on the Delhi-Mumbai route and the earnings due to dynamic pricing (ticket fares increase with demand) from premium trains were 50% more than Rajdhani on the same route.
We have to look for innovative sources of revenue as we can't only bank on fare hike for general classes. The passenger demand is very high in air-conditioned segment and passengers are ready to pay premium for confirmed tickets, a railway board official said.
Railways presently has a shortfall of Rs 4,000 crore in the passenger segment against its budget estimates. We can't increase the fares of suburban trains and general classes...but we can run premium trains through the year on routes were there are always waiting of 500 to 700, the official added.
At present, railway has proposed to run premium trains on route such as Delhi-Mumbai-Goa, Delhi-Lucknow, Delhi-Jammu, Delhi-Patna and Delhi-Howrah.
Under the dynamic pricing system for premium trains, the booking is only allowed through the IRCTC website and the fares applicable for each day are indicated at the time of booking on IRCTC's e-ticketing website. The railways has decided against issuing any seats at concessional rates.
Besides, the passengers are not allowed any refund if they cancel the ticket.