A day after BJP leaders flagged off the ‘Modi Express’ with 1,800 passengers to Sawantwadi, the Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) on September 8 flagged off 110 buses to different parts of Konkan. The Central and Western Railways have been running the most number of trains to Konkan for the last three years.
As per figures provided by the railways, in 2020-21 they ran 261 special trains, 222 in 2019-20, and 202 in 2018-19 to Konkan. Over the past few days now, the trains and buses have seen a substantial rise in demand. Recently, the Central Railway had also put up the number of available and RAC seats in these trains.
The online portal Confirmtkt dealing with train bookings stated that the festival season is witnessing an encouraging interest with high demand. “With limited access to airports, consumers from Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities are actively opting for train travel,” said a spokesperson for Confirmtkt. Ahead of this festive season, Sankash, a travel fintech start-up, stated that they are witnessing a three-fold rise in demand to finance holidays as compared to the previous year.
Likewise, the demand for buses is also on a rise. On Wednesday Shiv Sena leader and state transport minister Anil Parab flagged off MSRTC buses for the festival. The MSRTC is running more than 2,200 buses to various parts of Konkan. At least 50 per cent of private buses, too, have been booked by tourists. Nearly 1,100 buses will leave Mumbai in the next three days.
Data from redBus, India’s largest online bus ticketing platform, indicates the growth in bookings across India for the upcoming long weekend of Ganesh Chaturthi. About seven lakh seats are projected to be booked during the festival period, with Maharashtra and Gujarat witnessing a significant rise in booked seats. Interestingly, bookings peaked seven days prior to the festival compared to five days last year.
About 63 per cent of the overall bookings are projected to come from Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities and towns. A spokesperson for redBus claimed that about 54 per cent of the current bookings are for travel within states and the remaining 46 per cent for interstate travel, while 73 per cent of current bookings are on AC buses.