Humsafar Fares should have been 20% Cheaper

Humsafar, a special class service comprising only AC-3 coaches. Trains With CCTV, GPS, Lap-top charging points, Braille Display Coming Up !

Services to begin between New Delhi and Gorakhpur.

Indian Railways had introduced dynamic surge fares on Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains from September 9, drawing wide spread criticism from the opposition parties. Now, the Railways has announced that ‘Humsafar’ trains are going to be launched by October 2016. The launch is likely to begin between New Delhi and Gorakhpur.

 

The Humsafar, will focus on India’s middle-class travellers, it will be an exclusively 3-tiered AC train with optional meals.

Point to be noted : Humsafar fares will be about 20% more than the normal Mail/Express services.

During the presentation of the Rail Budget 2016-17, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had announced Humsafar – a special class service comprising only AC-3 coaches with many additional facilities for inter-city overnight journey.

Humsafar is a special class train different from the normal AC-3 coaches as it is equipped with CCTV, GPS-based passenger information system, fire and smoke detection and suppression system and mobile, laptop charging points with every berth.

Besides, Humsafar has widely improved aesthetics with new interior and exterior colour scheme presenting a futuristic look with the use of vinyl sheets similar to Maharaja Express coaches. It will also have integrated braille displays.

“Since the train is a special class service with many modern facilities, it has cost more to railways. So the fare will accordingly be on the higher side to match the additional cost. The fare structure has not been firmed up yet and is being worked out. Fare should not exceed beyond 20 per cent of normal Mail/Express fare,” say Railways officials.

As per Railways, Humsafar will be launched as overnight inter-city service on high-demand routes and some of the destinations have been identified.

Delhi – Gorakhpur 3AC Fare comparison :

82406/Delhi – Darbhanga AC Suvidha Special Rs 1515
12566/Bihar Sampark Kranti SF Express (PT) – Rs 1135
22412/New Delhi – Naharlagun AC SF Express – Rs 1125
12204/Amritsar – Saharsa Garib Rath Express – Rs 750

Humsafar – Rs 1365

The development has drawn mixed response from the rail users and analysts. Some welcome it while most of them are unhappy because of 20% extra. Some analysts suggest that Humsafar fares should not have been increased. The present Garib Rath services, widely used by the commuters, is also a special service and its fares are less than a normal Mail/Express fare. With the same logic, Humsafar fares should not have been set high. The supporting argument put forward by the Railways is – ‘the train is a special class service with many modern facilities, it has cost more to railways.’ This logic can not be justified. The prime requisite anticipated by the passenger during  a train journey is only one. That is, it should reach its destination as per its scheduled time. Other so-called passenger friendly amenities are not essentials. The Railways could have saved its costs by not providing those unnecessary extras. However, had the Railways guaranteed punctuality, the passenger would have happily paid 25% more !

Air India Extends Rajdhani Plan to Add 7 More Cities

Air India is going to offer last minute ticket prices equivalent to 2AC fares of Rajdhani trains on seven additional routes including from Delhi to Raipur, Patna, and Ranchi.

Air India expanded its spot fare scheme, wherein unsold seats are offered at 2AC Rajdhani  rates four hours before a flight’s departure. These ticket prices are  as low as Rs 2,240.

AI chairman and managing director Ashwani Lohani

Air India Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani has said that Air Indiarier has an average load factor of 74 per cent across its domestic network while the seat occupancy on the trunk routes stands at around 80 per cent.  The move to offer  such tickets was aimed at providing relief to the passengers from last minute sky-rocketing fares and also to fill the vacant seats.

Air India’s move might pose competitive challenges for other private airlines, which generally charge very costly fares for last minute bookings.

“On account of popular response and with an aim to enhance growth, national carrier Air India has decided to add seven more centers under its ‘Spot Fares’ scheme,” Air India said in a statement.

“These fares would be available for sale within four hours of the scheduled departure of the flights. These fares are available for sale through city and airport booking offices, call centre and Air India website.  The scheme is available for more than 100 flights across the country,” the statement said.

Tickets are also available on NC AIRWAYS.

“By introducing these fares we are not only able to generate additional revenue but also able to fill each and every seat till the last minute,” the statement added.

The scheme was launched on select domestic sectors from June 27 to September 30. Air India is already offering these fares on four routes and with the new additions, the total number of such sectors would increase to 11. The scheme is intended to offer fares equivalent to that of a 2AC of the Rajdhani Express.

The routes and their fares are –

Routes Fares (Rs)
Delhi-Ranchi-Delhi 2770
Delhi-Ahmedabad-Delhi 2270
Delhi-Hyderabad-Delhi 3275
Delhi-Bhubaneshwar-Delhi 3475
Delhi-Goa-Delhi 3665
Delhi-Patna-Delhi 2315
Delhi-Raipur-Delhi 2240

It is already available on four trunk routes – Delhi-Mumbai-Delhi, Delhi-Kolkata-Delhi, Delhi-Bengaluru-Delhi and Delhi-Chennai-Delhi.

As per Ashwani Lohani, the rationale behind the move was to provide “flying at low, affordable costs to last-minute passengers”.