No demand? Mumbai-Goa Tejas Express sees a steep drop in number of passengersmumbai Updated: Sep 19, 2017 14:27 IST
Barring the festive-season rush, train sees maximum of 150 passengers against its capacity of 1,100(HT)
More than three months after it was launched, India’s first semi-high speed full AC train — the Tejas Express — operating on the Mumbai – Goa route, has failed to attract passengers
The 15-coach train, launched in June, has a capacity of nearly 1,100 passengers. But only for the first two weeks and the ten-day Ganeshotsav, when it was almost fully booked most of the days, the train sees a maximum of only 150 passengers , according to officials. According to officials, on September 4, the train had only 75 passengers between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) and Karmali in Goa, and 124 passengers were on board on September 6.
The express carried 90 passengers between Karmali and CSMT on August 24 and 103 passengers on August 22.
On August 26, a day after Ganeshotsav began, the express had 947 passengers between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) and Karmali, and on August 28, there were 881 passengers. On August 27, between Karmali to CSMT there were 982 passengers and on August 29, 750 passengers were onboard the Tejas.
On Anant Chaturdashi — September 5 — the express had 950 passengers between Karmali to CSMT, but only 124 passengers on September 6. The express is likely to see a spike in demand in the holiday season during Diwali and towards the end of the year when tourists prefer to travel to Goa.
Despite this, the Indian Railways is all set to launch a Tejas Express between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The second Tejas Express would be launched before the year end. But, the big question is whether another Tejas train is commercially viable given that the cost of construction of one rake is Rs75 crore.
“Introducing Tejas Express may have been premature. The general sentiment is that such a luxury train may not work on shorter routes and would have better demand on longer routes. In the case of Goa as well as Ahmedabad, the time saved by travelling in Tejas is not more than two hours than the existing train options. The money spent however is more than double,’’ said a senior railway official, speaking to HT on the condition of anonymity.
He added that Mumbai-Goa especially was less of a commercial and more of an emotive decision taken by the former Railway minister, Suresh Prabhu.
The fare structure between CSMT and Karmali for the executive class is nearly Rs3,050 and for the AC first class is Rs1,585.
The train operates thrice a week in the monsoon period and will run five times during the non-monsoon period.