Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has good news for all those who compare train and airline fares while booking tickets. Indian Railways is studying a model under dynamic pricing, where train tickets can be offered at discounts, just like in airlines. “Why should flexi-fares only be about an increase in train fares. Just like in airlines and hotels, Railways too should be able to offer discounts on routes where the occupancy is relatively low. We are exploring this possibility. The Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani has come from Air India, so he is studying this possibility,” Goyal said recently. At a time when the national transporter is facing competition from both the aviation and roadways sector, the step may just help step up revenue for Indian Railways.
Addressing the media about the Railway conclave “Sampark, Samanvat, Samvad”, Goyal stressed on the need to innovate and achieve economies of scale in projects. Goyal laid out 10 principles for Railway employees; decisive leadership, partnership with all stakeholders, outcome-oriented action, time bound execution and fast dispute resolution, root cause analysis, rule of law and transparency, prioritisation of issues, technology focus, innovative financing and accountability and close monitoring.
Yet another subject that was discussed was the possibility of a round trip for Rajdhani Express trains. “It is a saying that one should be able to sweat one’s assets. Right now a Rajdhani Express train from Delhi to Mumbai stays at the station for maintenance. It can be utilised for a small trip in that time. Going ahead I would want that the trip between Delhi and Mumbai be completed in 11 hours and half an hour on each side goes in maintenance. So a round trip would become possible,“ Goyal said. “We are already trying out an experiment on the Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani, where two engines are being used. I have also suggested that the train should depart from Delhi at 5 instead of 4 in the evening, allowing people one more hour to do work. In the same vein, it should reach Mumbai by 7 instead of 6 in the morning, allowing people to sleep for an additional hour,” Goyal added.
Sonam Wangchuk, the inspiration for the film “3 Idiots”, also addressed the conclave, sharing his personal story of challenges and innovation. He advised Indian Railways to focus on simple solutions to complex problems.
Meanwhile, according to the Ministry of Railways, Goyal stressed on the fact that time bound execution can lead to meeting cost targets and improve performance. The Railway conclave was meant to be a brainstorming session for senior railway employees. The aim was to deliberate on “Vision for New Railway – New India 2022”. It was attended by over 250 members of Indian Railways.