As air ticket prices go through the roof, it’s the railways that have gained the most. Many potential flyers are opting for a ride on the tracks, official data indicates.
According to Rail Ministry data, passenger traffic in the 1A Class grew from 6.3 lakh in April-September 2007-08 to 7.53 lakh for the corresponding period in 2008-09, a 19.6 per cent increase.
In the corresponding periods,
passenger traffic in 2A class grew from 65.90 lakh to 76.23 lakh, while in 3A it grew from 1.41 crore in 2007-08 to 1.78 crore.
Passenger earnings for 1A increased from Rs 79.20 crore to Rs 100.15 crore, while earnings from 2A grew from Rs 541.08 crore to Rs 694.52 crore. For 3A, earnings rose from Rs 1.192.13 crore to Rs 1,535.72 crore.
Railway officials said that Lalu Prasad’s no-hike regime for all classes has reaped dividends. So have innovations like e-ticketing and dial-a-ticket schemes.
Also hugely successful has been the passenger upgrade scheme, which provides for free automatic upgrades to a higher class in the event of a vacancy.