The Railway Board has given instructions to manufacture more AC II-tier coaches in a bid to replace loss-making AC II-tier coaches in premium trains like Rajdhanis and Durontos. The move will be initiated on trains where the number of AC-II passengers is low. At least 250 such coaches across the country may be replaced but no deadline has been set to make these replacements.
A PTI report suggests that if such a replacement were to take place, for 50 Rajdhani trains, for example, it will create around 14,400 additional berths for AC-III passengers. It also said that railways were suffering huge losses on AC-II, while AC-III is always on demand. In fact, AC III coaches are the money spinners for railways in AC segment as they carry around 85 million passengers annually, compared to around 55 million in all other AC segments together (AC-I, AC II, and AC chair car).
Meanwhile, the national transporter is mulling a change in its flex-fare scheme to make it more consumer friendly. In fact, after a CAG report criticised the scheme and lashed out at the railways for charging its AC-II passengers on par with airlines in certain sectors, the move seeks to generate additional revenues.
As of now, under the flexi-fare scheme, the base fares of premium trains increase by 10 percent with every 10 percent of berths sold subject to a prescribed ceiling limit. There is no change in the existing fare for 1AC and EC class of travel. Under the scheme, the national transporter had posted a 0.82 percent increase in the number of passengers during the last financial year and got additional revenue of around Rs 8.6 billion.