40 percent seats on Mumbai-Ahmedabad trains go vacant: RTI reply
Moneylife Digital Team 31 October 2017
As the Narendra Modi government proceeds with the grandiose plans for a Bullet Train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, a RTI query has revealed that over 40 percent of seats on all the trains on this sector go vacant causing huge losses to Western Railway.
According to RTI replies received by Mumbai activist Anil Galgali, only in the past one quarter, the Western Railway's staggering losses on this sector is nearly Rs 30 crore, or around Rs. 10 crore per month.
"The Indian government is over-enthusiastic and plans to spend more than Rs 1 lakh crore on the Bullet Train project, but it has not done its homework properly," Galgali said, adding it raises serious question marks on the viability of the Bullet Train project, whenever it comes up.
The Indian Railways have also admitted that they have no plans to introduce any new trains on this sector which is already in the red.
Replying to Galgali's query on seats occupancy on all the trains between the two cities, the WR revealed that in the past three months, 40 percent all seats went vacant on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad sector and 44 percent empty on the Ahmedabad-Mumbai route.
WR's Chief Commercial Manager Manjeet Singh said that between July 1-September 30, there are 32 mail/express serving this sector with a total seating capacity of 735,630 seats on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad sector.
Of these, only 441,795 seats were booked during that period generating a revenue of Rs 30,16,24,623 against the total estimated expected income of Rs 44,29,08,220 - incurring a huge loss of Rs 14,12,83,597 in the past quarter.
Similarly, on the Ahmedabad-Mumbai route served by a total of 31 mail/express trains with a seating capacity of 706,446, only 398,002 seats were booked, resulting in a revenue of Rs 26,74,56,982 against the estimated expected income of Rs 42,53,11,471, spelling a massive loss of Rs 15,78,54,489.
The WR provided the data of all the major trains plying on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad-Mumbai route like the Durantos, Shatabdi Expresses, Lokshakti Express, Gujarat Mail, Bhavnagar Express, Saurashtra Express, Vivek-Bhuj Express and others.
Faced with the vacancies on existing trains, the WR Divisional Engineer, Ahmedabad informed that there is no fresh proposal to introduce any new trains on this sector.
In fact, Galgali said that the most popular train, 12009 Shatabdi Express with a capacity of 72,696 seats sold only 36,117 during the July-September period on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route and in the return direction of the total 67,392 seats, only 22,982 were sold.
This train, which once always ran packed in all seasons both ways has now proved to be a loss-maker, and the executive chair car with 7,505 seats was practically deserted with just 1,469 seats booked, plummeting revenues from the estimated Rs 1,45,49,714 to a paltry Rs 26,41,083 during the last quarter.
The position in all other trains was similar and though there is a higher demand for sleeper class compared to seats, the WR has not done enough to augment its capacity.
Galgali pointed out that given this current alarming scenario, coupled with growing preference for flights and improved road travel, the Central and Gujarat governments must review the expensive option of the Bullet Train before it becomes a white elephant for the Indian taxpayers.
Ashish M
6 years ago
Moneylife is known for very high standard in journalism so obviously this article is a disappointment. Disappointment because this is based on wrong facts. The 40% occupancy details is for tickets booked from Mumbai central till Ahmedabad not considering enroute stations and the data is limited to Shatabdi. In my opinion more people board from Borivali compared to Mumbai central and then you have people alighting at Surat, Vadodara and other stations.

Hope this was an one odd slip from your high standards.

Sucheta Dalal
Replied to Ashish M comment 6 years ago
Do read it again. This is from an RTI activist and 100% based on facts. if they show a problem, there is a need for the Railways to fix it to ensure optimal utilisation and distribution of reservations. The answer is not to be blindly supportive -- that too of the Railways - where corruption and misuse of funds is rampant - and claim that the article is fixed or twisted. You should also wake up and learn to differentiate between slothful government organisations and the government itself. Or is it your contention that they have a fix on everything wrong in the country in 3 short years? Why then the huge corrections and back-peddling on so many issues like demon and GST too?
If you think our standards of journalism are high, it is precisely because we do not allow our views to be coloured by who is in power.
Beena Kothari
6 years ago
Dont agree to this report as I travel on this route frequently. You hardly get tickets at the last moment in any of these trains which are running during night time. Report is twisted by mentioning only about shatabdi which people dont choose unless no option available due to high ticket cost (including food which is half cooked) and travel during day time.
Bhuvaneswaran K
6 years ago
This news is said to be twisted. Opindia has written about this news being fake/twisted!
6 years ago
The data itself is faulty. How can there be 200% to 1500% occupancy in some train/class? And surely author has selectively picked up data to prove a point. Moneylife has time and again taken up many important matters. Though it is not compulsory to take up any and all matters till it is materialized.
Mrinal Kanti Ganguly
6 years ago
1. If there were no demand of seats, why so many trains were started on this route and who introduced them? 2. When I checked the availability of seats today in this route, don't notice any vacancy, despite it being off-season, so imagine what it is in peak season. 3. Is it another attempt to find fault with Modei?
manish shah
6 years ago
this is unbelievable when one books tickets in sleeper class typically it is wait list. Can someone explain this?
Free Helpline
Legal Credit