Railway Minister dismisses reports of decrease in number of train passengers post Covid

Minister strongly refuted some reports and comments on social media that the number of train passengers has become half of what it used to be in 2010.

New Delhi: There has been no decrease in the number of train passengers and by the end of the current financial year, the Indian Railways will touch the pre-Covid passenger traffic of 650 to 700 crore, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Wednesday.

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The minister strongly refuted some reports and comments on social media that the number of train passengers has become half of what it used to be in 2010.

“Post-Covid lockdown, the Indian Railways started its train services from December 2021 and by July 2022, operations were normalised. In the 2022-23 financial year, 640 crore people used the train network,” he said.

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“This year, according to our conservative estimate, 650 crore people will travel (in trains). The number might go up to 750 crore. So we are back to pre-Covid era when the number of train travellers used to be around 700 crore,” he added.

He also dismissed reports that the number of non-AC coaches or sleeper class coaches has been reduced.

“We have around 60,000 train coaches, out of which 40,000 are non-AC, which is a significant number,” Vaishnaw said.

Recently, the Railway Ministry issued a statement saying that the national transporter registered a huge increase in the number of general and sleeper class passengers between April and October in 2023.

The press statement said that the railways received 390.2 crore total passengers in these seven months, which is 41.1 crore more than the figure of the corresponding period in the previous year. In 2022, between April and October, 349.1 crore passengers travelled in trains.

Out of these 41.1 crore passengers, 92.5 per cent or 38 crore, travelled in non-AC classes (general and sleeper classes) and the remaining 3.1 crore preferred air-conditioned coaches.

The break-up of AC and non-AC travellers from the total number of passengers reflected the same trend, with 372 crore passengers travelling in non-AC coaches and only 18.2 crore in AC coaches.

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