The Golden Chariot, Karnataka’s luxury train, will soon have a different tariff for Indians wishing to travel on it. The price is likely to come down to about Rs. 63,000 for a seven-night trip from the current Rs. 1.2 lakh.
A proposal in this regard is expected to be placed by the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC), which runs the train, before the KSTDC board next week.
“We are placing the reworked rate of about Rs. 9,000 a night for approval and hope to see more Indians travelling on the train in future,” KSTDC Managing Director Vinay Luthra told The Hindu.
At present, tariff for a night on this opulent train is $ 350, which will be about Rs. 17,000 calculated at the rate of Rs. 49 for a $ 1.
Sources said that the tariff also depended on the season, with September to March being the peak season with a large number of foreign tourist arrivals.
Mr. Luthra said: “Ideally, if a person undertakes a journey for three nights, it could cost about Rs. 27,000, which many Indian travellers can afford now.” Besides, he said, as the Rs. 32 crore-train was built with tax payers’ money, the corporation thought Indian travellers should be charged less.
Twenty per cent of the total number of passengers who have travelled on the train since it commenced operations nearly a year-and-a-half ago are Indians, many of whom used the off-season period.
Sources in the travel industry commented that the proposed differential tariff could be to attract Indian travellers considering the arrival of foreign tourists to the country had come down.
For those who cannot make an outright payment for the ticket to travel on luxury train, the corporation has tied up with the HDFC Bank for an interest-free loan to be payable in six to eight instalments. The measure has been initiated as the tariff for a seven-night journey is Rs. 1.2 lakh at present.
Though the response to the scheme had not been encouraging, the corporation was using it as a marketing tool as HDFC customers were accessible for promotional campaigns, Mr. Luthra said. “We are in talks with other banks, including ICICI Bank and Standard Chartered Bank, for similar tie-ups, which will increase our marketing base,” he added.