Not too many people are opting for air-conditioned (AC) trains on the Western line. In the last 15 days, out of seven AC trains, only two are operational on this line. Moreover, just 606 monthly season tickets have been sold for these coaches between August 11 and 28, out of a total 1.26 lakh.
The authorities are operating 12 AC services but there are barely any passengers. According to sources, they are operating two AC trains throughout the week between Churchgate and Virar, while the remaining five are gathering dust in the yard. According to railway officials, out of 606 monthly season tickets, 131 monthly season tickets were sold on August 23, which was the maximum. On average, 34 monthly season tickets are sold per day.
Meanwhile, Western Railway’s general manager Alok Kansal, who inspected the suburban trains on August 28, agreed that in Covid times less commuters are opting for AC local.
“Three months ago, we had carried out a survey to get passenger feedback on AC locals. What we found is that people are reluctant to pay. But they should also compare per kilometre cost when one travels in an AC local as against a bus or a taxi on the same route. An AC local provides comfort and also saves time. We have submitted our views along with the survey to the Railway board,” said Kansal.
Kansal had spoken to passengers travelling by second class and enquired about the difficulties they faced. Sources said people also spoke about issues like monthly passes for fully vaccinated instead of daily tickets. Currently, there are around 11-13 lakh people travelling by WR daily. From August 11 to 28, the WR has sold 1.26 lakh MSTs, of which 1.07 lakh are for second class.