A railway committee is mulling flexibility in ticket pricing for suburban railways based on demand and competing facilities. The committee, set up by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu under the Minimum Government and Maximum Governance campaign, is considering changes in the present practice of a pan-India tariff even for suburban and other short distance services. "A different fare for each suburban system based on demand and fare of other competing facilities and a separate fare structure for peak and off-peak services in the suburban system to reduce congestion and flexibility in downgrading of class of service to capture local traffic" are some of the suggestions the panel is likely to make in its report to Prabhu next month. The committee, headed by the director general, personnel, has been dealing with the issue of more powers being delegated to the general managers and divisional railway managers of different zones and divisions to make the fare structure flexible in a bid to attract passenger traffic. "This way senior officials in the zonal level will get the chance to fix pricing at a differential manner.
The idea is to ease the tight financial rules and make them more flexible," said a senior official.The official, who did not want to be identified, said that under this process, prices can be decided depending on the availability of other modes of transport so as to attract passengers. The railways needs to carry out competitive pricing to allow people to choose trains instead of the other options, he said.