The Railways recently launched a request for qualification (RFQ) inviting private entities to operate passenger trains on its network.
Whether or not to charge passengers for these services will be up to private parties, officials said.
In the document, it is stated that bidders, based on their financial capacity, will be required to offer a share of the gross revenue at the Request for Proposal (RFP) stage to undertake the project.
While the railways have given private players the freedom to set the fare to be charged to passengers, they will also have the freedom to explore new avenues to generate revenue, according to the RFQ.
âThe definition of gross income, which is under consideration, is as follows. Any amount accruing to the passenger concessionaire (private entity) or any third party for the provision of the following services to passengers due to the running of trains under the concession agreement: amount printed on the ticket; amount of preferred seat options, baggage / baggage, freight / package (if not included in ticket price), âsaid the request for quotation.
“The amount of on-board services such as – catering, bed linen, content on demand, wi-fi (if not included in the price of the ticket). Any amount due to the concessionaire for publicity rights, brand and of denomination in accordance with the concession contract â, indicates the document.
The Chairman of the Railways Council at a press conference allayed fears that the prices of private train tickets were too expensive and said they would be determined by the market and based on competitive prices.
In a one-of-a-kind initiative, Indian Railways invited private companies to come up with proposals to run 151 modern passenger trains on 109 pairs of routes across the country in a project that would involve investment the private sector of about 30,000 crore rupees.
The private entity is free to procure trains and locomotives from any source of its choice, provided that such trains and locomotives are compatible with the specifications and standards specified in the concession contract.
However, the concession agreement would include provisions for compulsory sourcing through domestic production in India over a period of time.
The railways also said that the journey time of a private train from the station of origin to the station of destination should be comparable to that of the fastest train on the railways traveling between the same stations.
âRailways must provide non-discriminatory access to trains operated by private entities without any similar scheduled new trains leaving between the same stations within 60 minutes of the scheduled departure of the private train,â the RFQ said.
Each train must have a minimum of 16 cars (equal to a length of 384 meters, buffer to buffer) and a maximum not exceeding the longest passenger train running on the respective route.
Passenger trains operated by private entities must be designed to run at a maximum operating speed of 160 km / h.
To concern Passengers pay for preferred seats on private trains, gross revenues must be shared with railways