Governance is not business and the new dynamic surge pricing system over and above the normal fares on Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi trains is nothing but fleecing helpless commuters in broad daylight. It is difficult to get reservation on out station trains even if you book a couple of months in advance and this ‘surge pricing system’ hitherto being used by private cabs and now by Indian railways is nothing but ‘lootmar’ (day light robbery). Travelling by trains is extremely risky these days with improper infrastructure which includes faulty tracks and signal system apart from missing basic facilities. Fares too on trains have been high and at times even costlier than airfare. Surge pricing in the current scenario is uncalled for and the government needs to re-think over it. Only 10 per cent seats will be sold on normal fares and this ‘black marketing’ of the rest of the seats on trains is one feels undemocratic as well as unethical. The system hits the poorest of the poor too and an alternative could be to run ‘special trains’ instead on surge fares if there is mismatch of demand over supply to earn the extra revenue.
Our dynamic Prime Minister and intelligent Railway Minister should abort the idea of surge fares on trains and aim at improving efficiency of Indian Railways to earn the extra revenue. Wasteful expenditures should be controlled and excess railway property can be sold for increasing revenues.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)