The fortunes of AC locals are changing. Earlier this week, the WR and CR catered over 1 lakh passengers in a day in AC local trains. Sources in WR said that in April-May (until May 23) they sold 1.82 lakh daily tickets. The WR runs 32 services while CR runs 56 services every day.
The promising figures of increasing ticket sales and passengers are from the time Rail Ministry slashed fares of daily journey tickets AC local trains by 50 per cent on May 5. According to figures obtained from WR, in April this year, 56,021 daily tickets were sold including 11,954 season passes for AC local trains thus ferrying 6.60 lakh passengers.
However, until May 23, the WR received an exemplary response, which sources attribute that it happened after May 5 when fares of AC local were slashed. The WR authorities sold more than 1.26 lakh daily tickets for AC local, though 12,177 season passes were sold and ferried 8.09 lakh passengers. On May 21, the WR sold the most number of daily tickets at 9,225 while on May 23, the AC locals carried 71,265 commuters.
"The AC local is gaining popularity and it's evident by the sale of daily tickets. During peak hours, we are seeing jam-packed coaches. We are expecting more AC trains to come in," said a WR official.
In 2021-22, the WR sold 94,733 daily journey tickets and 40,388 season passes thus ferrying more than 20.99 lakh commuters who took the AC local trains throughout the year.
The WR has 6 AC rakes, which includes one AC rake that they received from CR, and are operating 4 AC rakes. The CR has 5 AC rakes while they are operating 4 AC rakes.
Meanwhile, on the Central Railway, 58,004 passengers travelled by AC local trains on Monday and on the WR, 71,265 passengers travelled by the AC local trains. Ridership in AC locals has surged after the fares were slashed by 50 per cent on single journeys from May 5.
Further, two new AC local trains will be introduced by the Central Railway of which one is expected to be introduced by June this year. At present 56 local train services operate on the Central Railway and 32 AC services on the WR. The AC local trains on the harbour railway were discontinued due to poor patronage.
Passengers travelling by the AC local trains have increased with 5,939 passengers travelling by AC local trains in February on Central Railway, 12,705 passengers travelled, in March while 19,761 passengers travelled in April and in May 30,529 passengers travelled by AC local trains on the Central Railway.