The Modi government which is over enthusiastic to spend more than Rs 1 lakh crores for running Bullet Train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, seems to have not done its homework properly. “In the past three months (July 1-September 30, 2017) there have been 40 per cent empty seats on the Mumbai to Ahmedabad route and 44 per cent empty seats on the Ahmedabad to Mumbai route,” revealed a response by the Chief Commercial Manager of the Western Railway, Manjeet Singh, to a RTI query filed by RTI Activist Anil Galgali regarding the seat occupancy on all the trains running between Mumbai and Ahmedabad to and fro for the past three months. The response also states that the accumulated loss for the past three months is Rs 29.91 crore.
“As per the information, on the 32 Mail/Express trains running from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, out of the 7,35,630 seats on all the trains, only 4,41,795 seats got booked, generating a revenue of Rs 30,16,24,623 out of the total expected revenue of Rs 44,29,08,220, incurring a loss to the tune of Rs 14,12,83,597 in just three months.
On the Ahmedabad to Mumbai route a total of 31 Mail/Express trains are running on which 3,98,002 passengers travelled on the route on which the total capacity was 7,06,446 seats. This route accumulated a loss of Rs 15,78,54,489 as it could generate a revenue of only Rs 26,74,56,982 as against the expected capacity of Rs 42,53,11,471.
The trains running on the same route such as Duranto, Shatabdi, Gujarat Mail, Bhavnagar, Saurashtra, Vivek, Bhuj, Lokshakti are included in the data provided. “There is no fresh proposal for any new train on this route with them. The 12009 Shatabdi is the most famous and favourite train for Chair Car service. This train enroute to Ahmedabad had the capacity for 72,696 seats out of which it managed to sell only 36,117 seats. Of the total expected revenue of Rs 7,20,82,948 it could garner only Rs 4,11,23,086. The Executive Chair Car consisted of 8216 seats, whereas only 3468 could be sold garnering a revenue of just Rs 64,14,345 out of the total expected capacity of Rs 1,63,57,898,” informed Ahmedabad Division Engineer.
The Shatabdi’s Ahmedabad-Mumbai route story is no different. Out of the total 67,392 seats, only 22,982 seats got sold and revenue received was Rs 2,51,41,322 in place of total expectations of 6,39,08,988. In the case of Executive Chair Car only 1469 seats were booked out of 7505 available seats. The revenue generation was Rs 26,41,083 instead of 1,45,49,714. The positions in all the other trains are more or less the same. The maximum demand for seats on this route is for sleeper class seats, for which the Railways is not paying any attention to augment the capacity.
“The maximum load of passengers on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route is for sleeper class seats and it can be seen that the Upper Class seats are going vacant and the occupancy ratio is very poor,” said Galgali. “The Railway Ministry and the state government should study the scenario, the Bullet Train project selected by the Central Govt is not a viable option financially as well as from the point of view of common men,” he added.