The heavily-patronised Mumbai-Goa route on Konkan Railway has finally come on the premium market-controlled fare radar with the railways announcing six new services on the stretch. This is to clear the Ganpati rush.
Railway officials believe passenger who often find it difficult to procure train tickets in this season due to the rush and depend on the thriving bus sector, will now have a fresh choice.
DNA, in its April 16 edition, had written about how the Mumbai-Goa route, which over the past few months had been earning handsome revenue for the railways, was one of the stretches it was looking to introduce new trains.
As per a railway announcement, the Mumbai-Karmali premium train will run from Kurla LTT every Thursday on Aug 28, Sept 4 and Sept 9. It will depart at 1:10am and reach Karmali at 11:30am the same day. The Karmali-Kurla LTT leg would be operated on the same days. The train will leave Karmali at 11:55am and reach Kurla LTT at 10:15pm the same day.
The train will have only five halts—Thane, Panvel, Chiplun, Ratnagiri and Kudal. As per the new railway board policy, premium trains will have only a maximum of five halts.
"The train timings will allow people boarding this train to reach Goa (as well as Mumbai) at comfortable hours. We think it's going to be a huge hit. If everything goes according to plan, the double-decker being planned on the Mumbai-Goa route could replace this premium train in the future," said a railway official.
The premium train concept, where tickets are booked on the internet and prices change as per (market) demand, has been one of the few railway out-of-the-box ideas that has become a hit.
The Mumbai-Delhi and Mumbai-Jaipur premium trains earn almost 20-30 per cent more than the normal trains on these routes. On Central Railway, the Mumbai-Gorakhpur and Mumbai-Varanasi premium trains saw ticket prices touching airline-levels with some of the tickets being bought at rates as high as Rs 6,000 for a one-way journey.