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Old 13th May 2014, 13:18   #1
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Default Indian Railways: Premium Train Fare higher than a Flight!

Not sure if this is the right place to put this.

What is it with the "Premium Train" service of Indian Railways ?

My parents were booking tickets to come to Bangalore and they stumbled upon this Premium Train.
Upon further probing here and there, they came to know the below facts:
- Pricing is dynamic, like flights. The more closer to the travel date you book, the more price you pay.
- The 2AC fare is more than a flight fare on this route (Bhubaneswar-Bangalore).
- No Senior Citizen / Tatkal quota discount, or any quota for that matter.
- Fooding included.
- Coaches are of Rajdhani / Shatabdi standard.
- Takes less than 24 hours for this route, where as regular trains take an average of 27-30hrs.
- No refund/cancellation of tickets. Only refund in case of train cancellation.

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The price of a 2AC - INR 5800 !!!
A standard Indigo flight fare on this route is within INR 5000 !!

Indian Railways: Premium Train Fare higher than a Flight!-13.jpg

Has anyone travelled or booked tickets on such a Premium train ?
Is it really worth paying that much money for 24 hours of travel, where one can fly by paying less.
I understand its an alternative for people who cannot fly (patients / infants / physically challenged, etc). But is it worth the premium ?
It looks like a high-end scam by Railways. Please correct me if I am unaware of facts.
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Old 13th May 2014, 13:30   #2
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Default re: Indian Railways: Premium Train Fare higher than a Flight!

Due to populist pressure, Railways has not been able to hike passenger fares for many years. So how do they stay afloat ? By such techniques (or scams if you will) and others like hiking cancellation fees, hiking tatkal charges etc.
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Old 13th May 2014, 13:57   #3
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Default re: Indian Railways: Premium Train Fare higher than a Flight!

Dynamic pricing were to be introduced in trains, I guess it was announced in last budget. However this premium train is new to me. I guess it is just a different naming they put for 'special trains' which they run during vacations / festival time.
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Old 13th May 2014, 14:07   #4
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Default re: Indian Railways: Premium Train Fare higher than a Flight!

The Premium trains on IR run on the Dynamic pricing policy which is in use by the airlines since ages.

Dynamic pricing means ::
1. the price of the ticket at the time of booking varies depending on 2 factors, first, the availability of seats in the class of travel and the second, the number of days left to departure.

So, for example if I am to travel between Mumbai on Delhi on this Friday 16/05/2014 in 2A class, the train departure is 3 days away but the available seats are only only 20 (hypothetically) than the pricing will be higher because since all tickets are getting booked that means there is demand in the market for these train's tickets.

Now, consider an example when I am to travel between Mumbai and Delhi tomorrow 14/05/2014 in 2A class, the train departure is tomorrow but the available seats are 100(hypothetically) than the pricing will be lower because since most of the tickets are un-booked that means that there is very less demand in the market for these train's tickets.

It all boils down to the Demand - Supply scenario which is always skewed when it comes to railway tickets in India.

So, calling this a scam is too far -fetched. It is just a good brained idea to earn the bucks much needed by the railway and in return you get a confirmed ticket.

Other advantages might be ::

1. No WL tickets allowed, so no unwanted passangers.

2. Tickets are booked only through online (IRCTC) and cannot be done at the PRS counter, so less chances of fraudsters hogging the seats and selling them in black market

Regards
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Old 13th May 2014, 14:10   #5
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Default re: Indian Railways: Premium Train Fare higher than a Flight!

Duh, railway keeps hiking fares here and there all the time. May be within the last year I had read somewhere that fares were hiked.
Even a 0.50 paisa per kilometer increase in fare translates to Rs760 hike in the total fare for this particular route. Isn't that enough to rob officially ?

I would term this new way of loot, a rather foolish approach. I wonder what was on the mind of the railway minister when he signed for this silly program.

The people who travel by 2AC, also may (or may not) have travelled by flight. And I assume that they are the educated class who may value their hard earned money.
So a sane person like me, or my parents who have worked hard to earn money would not be fooled into such a silly scheme by railways.

This particular Bhubaneswar-Bangalore route has a dearth of trains. Everytime we book tickets, we end up in WL50+.
And instead of introducing new trains, they scheme up for quick money.
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Old 13th May 2014, 14:19   #6
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Default re: Indian Railways: Premium Train Fare higher than a Flight!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soumyajit9 View Post
Duh, railway keeps hiking fares here and there all the time. May be within the last year I had read somewhere that fares were hiked.
Even a 0.50 paisa per kilometer increase in fare translates to Rs760 hike in the total fare for this particular route. Isn't that enough to rob officially ?

I would term this new way of loot, a rather foolish approach. I wonder what was on the mind of the railway minister when he signed for this silly program.

The people who travel by 2AC, also may (or may not) have travelled by flight. And I assume that they are the educated class who may value their hard earned money.
So a sane person like me, or my parents who have worked hard to earn money would not be fooled into such a silly scheme by railways.

This particular Bhubaneswar-Bangalore route has a dearth of trains. Everytime we book tickets, we end up in WL50+.
And instead of introducing new trains, they scheme up for quick money.
Dear Sir,

I would suggest you get some knowledge about the train operations and the costs involved in running a train from point A to point B.
You would be surprised to know that most of the passenger trains running in India are incurring losses per run, inspite of running in huge Wait lists.

Infact it is the Goods trains (cargo ones) which are the cash cows for the railways and the earning they get from running these freighters is used to fund the running of our passenger trains. Cross - funding you can say...

there are a number of factors which contribute towards this which are
1. The fare hike which happened was the first hike in over a decade, so in 2013 you were still awailing the rail journey at the same price that you would have paid in 2003. I did not see anybody complain about it. ?
2. Maintainance costs have gone high manifold.
3. Salary hikes to the huge Railway staff as per the pay commissions ordered by the GOI.
4. Each year we see a plethora aof new trains announced in the rail budget, but the current infra cannot match up to run these trains, so again a burden to upgrade the infrastructure like tracks, signalling, etc.

And finally, nobody, not even the railways has stopped you from buying an airline ticket, if you can get it at a cheaper rate on your day of travel. Go ahead and book it.

Regards
Dieseltuned
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Old 13th May 2014, 14:36   #7
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Default re: Indian Railways: Premium Train Fare higher than a Flight!

Passenger travel is a complete loss for railways. And the loss is not in AC travels. Its in the second class travel. To give example Delhi->Bangalore distance of approx 2.3k costs Rs 700. Thats 30p per km. And the majority of the passengers travel in second class.
Rajdhanis/Shatabdi and the likes are the only passenger trains that do not run in red.

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Old 13th May 2014, 14:42   #8
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Default re: Indian Railways: Premium Train Fare higher than a Flight!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soumyajit9 View Post
But is it worth the premium ?
I won't call it a scam, its just stupid by Indian Railways.

There is no value to a first class regular fare, forget this premium nonsense. It is not worth the premium. You don't have to cough up twice the cost for a train that gets to your destination in five hours less than a regular train. Besides; Indian Railways are not going to refund your money if the train is delayed right? Even if they did, I still don't think its worth. At the asking price, its Air travel for me all the way. I love traveling by rail but not at the asking price for a baseless premium express. There is nothing premium about it.

Plan ahead and book on a express train.

My folks are booked on the premium train from cochin to yeswantapur. Lets see how it goes. It was primarily due to non availability of tickets on a express train but I don't recall my father saying he paid that much more. Strangely, though the tickets are confirmed, births are not allocated till now which is strange and they travel in two weeks. Must be blocking off the good births for politician.
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Old 13th May 2014, 14:49   #9
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Default re: Indian Railways: Premium Train Fare higher than a Flight!

Other than the additional luggage allowance on train and the food which is included (saves the effort of carrying food for some folks) in the ticket cost, I do not see any benefit over flight.

If one need not reach in a hurry, train is best.

I would choose flight @ 5000 + 800 extra baggage charges and save time compared to premium trains

Last edited by scopriobharath : 13th May 2014 at 14:51.
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Old 13th May 2014, 15:26   #10
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Default re: Indian Railways: Premium Train Fare higher than a Flight!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dieseltuned View Post
The Premium trains on IR run on the Dynamic pricing policy which is in use by the airlines since ages.
That funda is clear to me since I have travelled by air too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dieseltuned View Post
You would be surprised to know that most of the passenger trains running in India are incurring losses per run, inspite of running in huge Wait lists. ........ And finally, nobody, not even the railways has stopped you from buying an airline ticket, if you can get it at a cheaper rate on your day of travel. Go ahead and book it.
Regards
Dieseltuned
That is sad to know that Railway is running under so much loses.
Its' a Govt. Organization, so I thought may be the Govt. was smart enough to run it profitably.
No one has stopped the Govt. from fare hikes to match up with the need of the time. Like the random inflation in everything in the life of a common man in India, this too would have flared up some protests and then slowly been adjusted to our daily lives.

But sir, running a scheme like this is daylight robbery in my eyes.
If they want to introduce this DPP, I am very much fine with it.
But, wouldn't they run it on some sectors, some classes (local, sleeper, ac 2 or 3), see the public response ? Where is the due dilligence done in this govt. project ?
I feel bad that only AC class travellers are targetted with this scheme.

Nevertheless, I have booked my favourite airlines ticket - Indigo to Bhubaneswar and back.
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Old 13th May 2014, 15:58   #11
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Default Re: Indian Railways - Premium Train

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soumyajit9 View Post

Nevertheless, I have booked my favourite airlines ticket - Indigo to Bhubaneswar
and back.
I second you here. Indigo is my first choice of air-travel as well. I have used their services in the Bombay - Calcutta & Bombay - Jaipur sectors.

Regards
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Old 13th May 2014, 17:12   #12
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Default Re: Indian Railways: Premium Train Fare higher than a Flight!

More about premium trains can be read here. The story of their making.

Last edited by Aditya : 14th May 2014 at 12:55. Reason: Fixing link
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Old 13th May 2014, 18:00   #13
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soumyajit9 View Post
What is it with the "Premium Train" service of Indian Railways ?

My parents were booking tickets to come to Bangalore and they stumbled upon this Premium Train.
Upon further probing here and there, they came to know the below facts:
- Pricing is dynamic, like flights. The more closer to the travel date you book, the more price you pay.

A standard Indigo flight fare on this route is within INR 5000 !!
.....

Has anyone travelled or booked tickets on such a Premium train ?
Is it really worth paying that much money for 24 hours of travel, where one can fly by paying less.
I understand its an alternative for people who cannot fly (patients / infants / physically challenged, etc). But is it worth the premium ?
It looks like a high-end scam by Railways. Please correct me if I am unaware of facts.
Never heard of such an absurd concept. What are the rail authorities thinking?

I thought trains were supposed to serve everyone including the aam junta and there must be no dynamic pricing and seasonal rates!

I can think of some services like Duronto which have a premium, but aren't priced like what you have described. They have senior citizen, tatkal quota and don't have dynamic pricing. It's just a shorter journey at a slight premium and 2A still work-outs cheaper than airfare.

I haven't travelled in such a train, but common sense says that Indigo flight is more worth than this train anyday, considering it's less than 1/10th the time.

I think infants are better off in a two-hour flight than 24 hours of dirt in trains. And planes and airports are friendly to physically challenged.

You're right, it's a scam from railways.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dieseltuned View Post
You would be surprised to know that most of the passenger trains running in India are incurring losses per run, inspite of running in huge Wait lists.

Infact it is the Goods trains (cargo ones) which are the cash cows for the railways and the earning they get from running these freighters is used to fund the running of our passenger trains. Cross - funding you can say...
You're absolutely right. Passenger trains are subsidised and cargo trains charge enormously(on the verge of looting.) This is why our highways are filled with trucks. Trucks are cheaper than goods trains for some mid-to heavy load transport.

Last edited by moralfibre : 14th May 2014 at 09:38. Reason: Back to back posts.
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Old 13th May 2014, 19:17   #14
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Default Re: Indian Railways: Premium Train Fare higher than a Flight!

I had the privilege to travel in the Mumbai-Delhi Premium train twice in last week. The service is similar to Duranto trains (Non-stop, point to point trains)

The one side fare was close 5K+, i.e. almost equal the regular air fare between Mumbai-Delhi, (if you book well in advance).. The current day fare when I had to travel was 11K+, so train was still cheaper. The only + about this premium service is that you get the tickets even at the last moment, because the reservation starts just 2 weeks before the train starts and due to higher price it was available till 1 day before travel.

BTW, I will be traveling on the same route by the same train again twice in next week as there is no choice. Booking Tatkal tickets is a pain in the A$$.. I have been successful only once in last 8-10 tries, so I don't keep this as an option anymore and look for alternatives for travel.
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Old 13th May 2014, 20:45   #15
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Default Re: Indian Railways: Premium Train Fare higher than a Flight!

Quote:
Originally Posted by D4D View Post
You're absolutely right. Passenger trains are subsidised and cargo trains charge enormously(on the verge of looting.) This is why our highways are filled with trucks. Trucks are cheaper than goods trains for some mid-to heavy load transport.
This is quite an eye opener. Think of fuel saved and less pollution if trains did all that freight task than trucks. Also less congestion on the roads, considering most highways pass through towns and cities.
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