The passenger occupancy of the Indian Railways has risen to nearly 80 percent when compared to that of March, a senior official in the Ministry of Railways told Moneycontrol.
Ticket booking of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corp Ltd (IRCTCL) have risen to around 800,000 daily bookings again after having fallen to around 500,000 tickets per day in May, the official said. The Indian Railways sells around 90 percent of its tickets through the IRCTC.
As the lockdown restrictions ease across the country, the Indian Railways has also started increasing its capacity utilisation across the country as it has started resuming almost all trains on many important routes. The Indian Railways is currently running around 1,490 mail and express trains and 947 passenger trains, the official said.
“We have discussed the issues surrounding the operations of trains with state governments and are only restarting operations based on demand. In containment zones, we are doing random tests and checks before starting operations. As we approach the festival season we expect demand for trains to pick up,” the official said.
The railways is also in discussion with state governments to consider the restart of local rail service across the country. According to the official, the railways in the next month is looking to restart, local sub-urban train service from Delhi to cities in Haryana like Sonipat, Palwal, Mahendragarh, Gurugram or adjoining cities of Rajasthan.
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The national carrier is also looking to incentive the use of its services as it looks to recoup some of the losses it has incurred due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and lockdowns imposed to control the spread of the virus. Indian Railways had reported a nearly Rs 32,768.97 crore fall in revenues from passenger operations in 2020-21 when compared to 2019-20.
The national carrier last month announced that it has extended the discount scheme on booking train tickets through Unified Payments Interface/Bharat Interface for Money at railway counters for another year till 12 June next year.Furthermore, the national carrier has also tied up with the State Bank of India to launch a co-branded credit card that offers customers further discounts on train bookings. It is also looking to come out with bundled tour packages to promote sales. It has already launched the ‘Matarani Rajdhani Package’ from Delhi to Vaishnaodevi Shrine daily from July 18 and is also looking at other packages to be launched around the upcoming festival season.