LAHORE – The non-availability of passengers, may be due to high rate of tickets, has led the management of Business Express to revisit its fare table just five days after its inauguration by the prime minister.

The train’s management on Tuesday introduced two classes, business and budget, in Pakistan’s first ever business train by bringing below the ticket rate by Rs 1,500 per journey from Lahore to Karachi. The management has announced that a passenger can travel through Business Express between the big cities of the country in budget-class by paying Rs 3,500 while the fare for Business Class is unchanged, i.e., Rs 5,000 one-way or Rs 9,000 return.

Sources, however, informed this scribe that the Express was failing to attract the passengers as on Tuesday the train had departed from Lahore Railways Station to Karachi by taking on-board only 200 people while it could accommodate 486 travellers. The sources said train management had been facing loss and it was putting shadows of doubts on future success of this joint venture. Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Friday inaugurated the first-ever Pakistan business train at the Railway Station and termed it a landmark public-private venture. The train is a joint venture of Pakistan Railways and a private company called MS Four Brothers. A contract was signed in August 2011 and it was decided that the train would start operating in 120 days.

Senator Zafar Iqbal Chaudhary, the CEO of the project, was not available to comment on the situation. The Railways’ unions had already been putting question mark on the viability of the train. Union leaders were alleging that the deal between the public utility and the private company was not fair. Railways GM Saeed Akhter, however, said the utility would charge from the private partner Rs 3,500 per person with 88 per cent passenger capacity. The GM, quoting the private management’s point of view, said that they thought the Business Express had been facing the issue of less number of passengers at initial stages.