Launched just seven months back, the Bathinda-Delhi Shatabdi Express is likely to be discontinued as it has failed to attract adequate number of passengers, prompting senior railways officials to discuss the matter in the upcoming board meeting.
Dinesh Kumar, divisional railway manager, Ambala division, who visited the city railway station on Wednesday for routine inspection, acknowledged that the Shabadadi was not getting enough passengers.
“The Shatabadi was launched on the demand of local residents, but the seat occupancy rate is only 35%-40%. The matter will be discussed in the meeting of the railway board that will decide whether to continue with the train or to shift it somewhere else,” the divisional railway manager said talking to mediapersons here.
The train was launched on December 18 last year after efforts made by Bathinda member of Parliament (MP) and Union food processing industries minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal. She along with deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had flagged the train at the city railway station.
During her recent visits to the city, Kaur had also acknowledged that the seat occupancy of the Shatabdi Express was low.
On July 3, when asked about starting of flights from the civilian airport at Bhisiana in the district, Harsimrat had said when “the Shatabdi is not getting adequate passengers and people are talking about starting flights”, adding that the railway authorities keep asking her about the situation every now and then.
The Shabatdi Express runs on Saturday and Monday. However, the timing of the train is considered a reason behind the low number of passengers as it starts its journey to Delhi at 4:20pm both on Saturday and Monday which does not suit the local residents.
Importantly, the Bathinda-Delhi Shatabdi which was started in 2002 and plied five days a week was discontinued after just 15 days due to shortage of passengers.