The Railways is reviewing the fares of some short-distance Vande Bharat trains with low occupancy to make them more viable for people, sources said on Wednesday.
Barring a handful of such low occupancy trains, most of the services of this semi-high speed train currently is running with full occupancy, according to official data.
Vande Bharat trains like the Indore-Bhopal, the Bhopal-Jabalpur and the Nagpur-Bilaspur express, along with some others are likely to fall in this category, the sources said.
According to end of June data sourced by PTI, the Bhopal-Indore Vande Bharat service recorded just 29 per cent occupancy whereas the return journey of Indore-Bhopal Vande Bharat Express had only 21 per cent occupancy. The journey between the two cities takes around three hours and costs Rs 950 for the AC Chair car ticket and Rs 1525 for the Executive Chair Car per passenger. The fare of this train could be reviewed, the sources said.
The longest journey of the Vande Bharat Express trains is around 10 hours and the shortest is of about three hours.
"The idea is to ensure that all the Vande Bharat trains work towards ensuring passenger convenience. We have reviewed the situation and we believe that some of the Vande Bharat trains, specially of shorter durations between two to around five hours will do much better if their prices are decreased. We want more and more people to use these trains.
"While most of the Vande Bharat trains are running at 100 per cent occupancy, a handful are not and we are making the changes needed to ensure they do," said a senior official.
Another train whose fares are under review is the Nagpur-Bilaspur Vande Bharat Express which has an average occupancy of around 55 per cent. With a travel time of around 5 hour 30 minutes, the general belief is that it would do much better if the prices were brought down.
The fare for the executive class from Nagpur-Bilaspur Vande Bharat Express is Rs 2,045 while that of the Chair Car is Rs 1,075. This train was replaced by the Tejas Express in May due to low occupancy.
The Bhopal-Jabalpur Vande Bharat Express which has clocked 32 per cent occupancy while the return journey on Jabalpur-Bhopal Vande Bharat service has shown 36 per cent occupancy is also likely to see a fare reduction, sources said. The 4.5 hour journey between the two cities costs Rs 1055 for AC chair from Bhopal to Jabalpur while an Executive chair car ticket will cost Rs 1880. On its return journey, the fare for an AC chair is Rs 955, while an Executive chair car ticket costs Rs 1790.
So far, 46 Vande Bharat Express services have reached all rail-electrified states of the country. Encompassing a total of 24 states and Union territories, the Vande Bharat Express fleet has been ever-growing owing to its time-saving feature, which saves an average of an hour in comparison to other trains.
The Vande Bharat trains with top occupancy include the Kasaragod to Trivandrum train is the best-performing Vande Bharat Express (183 per cent), Trivandrum to Kasaragod Vande Bharat train (176 per cent), the Gandhinagar-Mumbai Central Vande Bharat Express (134 per cent), Mumbai Central-Gandhinagar Vande Bharat Express (129 per cent), Varanasi-New Delhi Vande Bharat Express (128 per cent), New Delhi-Varanasi Vande Bharat Express (124 per cent), Dehradun-Amritsar Vande Bharat Express (105 per cent), Mumbai-Sholapur Vande Bharat Express (111 per cent), Sholapur-Mumbai Vande Bharat Express (104 per cent).