During 2020-21 as much of train operations remained suspended through most of the year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Indian Railways managed to earn Rs 403 crore from tatkal tickets, an additional amount of Rs 119 crore from premium tatkal tickets, as well as an amount of Rs 511 crore from dynamic fares, revealed an RTI reply. Usually, passengers travelling in these three railway categories are last-minute passengers who avail these services mostly for emergency rail travel by paying premium charges, according to a PTI report. In a reply to an RTI filed by MP-based Chandra Shekhar Gaur, the national transporter said that it earned Rs 353 crore from tatkal tickets, Rs 240 crore from dynamic fares and Rs 89 crore from premium tatkal charges in fiscal 2021-22 till the month of September.
In the financial year 2019-20, Indian Railways earned Rs 1,669 from tatkal tickets, Rs 1,313 crore from dynamic fares, and Rs 603 crore from premium tatkal tickets. According to the report, tatkal ticket charges have been fixed as a fare percentage at the rate of 10% of basic fare for second class and 30% of basic fare for all other railway classes subject to minimum and maximum. Under premium, which was introduced in the year 2014 in select trains, 50% of tickets of the tatkal quota are sold to passengers using the dynamic fare system.
According to a Parliamentary Standing Committee, flexi or dynamic pricing appeared to be “somewhat discriminatory” considering that fares of Shatabdi, Rajdhani and Duronto Express trains are already higher as compared to other mail and express train services and are almost at par as well as higher than those of budget airlines at some instances. As per data, over 52 lakh wait-listed passengers after finalisation of seat reservation charts could not travel by train services in the first six months of the current financial year. Nearly 32,50,039 PNRs against which as many as 52,96,741 passengers had bookings, were auto-cancelled as they were in waiting list after chart preparation till September of this financial year.