Bus services overtake Shatabdi trains on busy, short routes
Indian Railways is looking into ways to improve running and fare structure of Shatabdi trains to improve their occupancy, which has been hit by road transport.
The passenger movement between non-terminating and non-originating railway stations on the route of Shatabdi trains has gradually turned low and passengers have been opting for AC bus services in these sections, reported Financial Express. It stated that the premium superfast express train running on the Delhi-Ajmer route has seen a dramatic drop between Jaipur and Ajmer. Similarly, the Chennai-Mysore Shatabdi’s occupancy declines after Bengaluru, as commuters prefer roads between Bengaluru and Mysore.
The loss of occupancy of these premium-category trains due to road transport was apparent from the available data, which shows Railways’ share in freight traffic has declined from 62 per cent in 1981 to around 36 per cent at present, and that of the roads has seen a corresponding increase in the period.
However, concerning the downward trend in occupancy of trains, Indian Railways had taken certain actions, including asking general managers of zones to take a call on fares in affected sections and cut ticket prices for such sections to bring them closer to that of bus services.
It had also converted Jaipur-Agra Shatabdi into a Janshatabdi to increase its occupancy. A Janshatabdi train is same as Shatabdi, the only difference being that the former has non-airconditioned chair cars with lower fares.
As the efforts have not helped some of the Shatabdi trains hit by low occupancy, a committee has been formed to look into flexi-fares and occupancy levels on premium trains, a railway official told FE. According to the official, the committee has submitted its report and action will be taken according to its recommendations.