4 Jan : With the aim to promote less popular trains, the Railways is finalising a plan to offer discounted tickets on certain routes while a fixed number of tickets will be offered on discounted rates in First Class AC, Second Class AC and AC three-tier in certain trains identified as less popular.
Though dubbed as ‘e-auction scheme’, there will, however, be no auctioning for the ticket."It will be basically an offer to purchase tickets at discounted rates and it has to be done through the Internet," said a senior Rail Ministry official.
The scheme will not be applicable to 514 pairs of trains categorised as popular trains.While trains like Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Jan Shatabdi, Garib Raths are highly popular, there are also a few trains which are not usually preferred by passengers.
Railways have identified 28 such trains which are being considered as less popular trains."We have identified those trains which have less than 60 per cent occupancy but more than 40 per cent occupancy rate and also have scope for improvement with some modifications in the fare structure," said the official.
"We are selecting two long-distance trains with overnight journey for introduction of discount scheme for the pilot project," said the official.According to the pilot plan, railway passengers will be offered 1st AC, 2nd AC and AC-III berths at a discounted fare in the two selected trains in northern and western region.
"Our earlier plan was to go for online auctioning of these berths. However, there are some practical problems in the bidding proposal. So we have opted for instant ticketing on discounted rates though it will be known as e-auction," said the official.
To begin with, only 10 to 20 per cent seats on selected trains are likely to be offered on discounted rates on the Internet.Though the time-frame for booking the ticket has not been finalised yet, according to the proposal, a passenger can avail discounted fares just before 24 hours of the journey.
The portal will also have all customer related information including train position, timing, availability and fares.Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) is providing the software for the portal.