The Central and Western Railways between April 1 to May 11 claim to have transported over 2.50 crore people in just one month. These are the people who are travelling on long-distance trains. Sources said that since the Covid pandemic, people are rushing to their native places. Over the last few days, more Summer Special trains are being added.
To begin with, on a daily average the railway authorities here in Mumbai have been transporting more than 5-7 lakh passengers in long-distance trains. The railway officials agree that this has been a very busy summer for them as many people, who couldn’t leave their homes due to the Covid-19 pandemic in the last two years, decided to go to their native places this summer.
As per the data and statistics provided by the Western Railway, from April 1 to May 11 this year, they transported 1.78 crore passengers in long-distance trains. Of these, more than 88 lakh are the ones who bought tickets through PRS counters, the official railway website of IRCTC and authorized travel agents. The remaining 90-odd lakh are those people who bought general tickets which are available only in Summer Special trains and it will be available in regular trains only by June end or so.
The WR earned Rs 526 crore from the sale of these tickets of which Rs 492 crore was from tickets sold on PRS counters.
Notably, 2.89 crore people travelled after buying tickets from UTS counters namely travelling in the General compartment where seats aren’t allocated.
In 2019-20, the railways earned revenue to the tune of Rs 486 crore. However, in 2021-22, the WR transported merely 27.80 lakh people which included 22.20 lakh of those booking through PRS and earned revenue of Rs 119 crore or so.
As per railway officials, more than 75 percent of people travel in the General compartment, which has not started until now in regular trains. The Central Railway too has transported more than 1 crore people during this period though they were still collating precise data.
“Despite adding more and more Summer Special trains, the demand from people just kept increasing. There have been cases of waitlisted tickets that ran several hundred. We are worried about handling so many people entering Mumbai in June when schools and colleges would re-open,” said a senior railway official.
The railways are increasing Summer Special trains and even carrying out surprise ticket checks as well. Despite Central Railway operating 638 Summer Special trains while Western Railway is running 440 Summer special trains, people continue to spend a lot of time waiting in the queue to buy a confirmed ticket.
The terminus stations of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, Kurla Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, Bandra Terminus and Mumbai Central Terminus are filled with passengers who are struggling to get tickets.