Month after launch, less passengers than expected on AC local train
With almost a month since the launch of the first air-conditioned (AC) local train on the Thane-Panvel route, the number of commuters boarding the train has been dismal. Despite introducing the service during peak hours, there has been a minimal shift of passengers to the AC train.
Central Railway (CR) introduced its first AC local train on January 30.
The train, between Thane and Panvel stations, has a carrying capacity of 16,512 passengers per day. On Tuesday, only 1,108 passengers boarded the train which is 6.71% of the total capacity. The train takes 1,032 passengers on each trip.
“The number of passengers travelling on the AC train has not increased as we had hoped. There is a minimal increase. The average passengers are just 6% to 7% of the total capacity. Feedback and commuter study is being done and a decision on increasing the numbers will be taken after the summer,” said a senior CR official.
CR approached the railway ministry for permission to introduce a second-class compartment in the AC train, along with changing the fares of the local. It also plans to introduce a new AC service between Thane and Panvel on the weekends.
A single journey ticket of the AC train currently costs ₹185. A weekly pass costs ₹1,130 and a monthly pass is for ₹1,985.
CR is also contemplating introducing AC train services between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) and Kalyan railway station.
Earlier, the Western Railway (WR), to popularise the service among passengers, had proposed allowing first-class commuters to board the AC train between 12 and 4pm.
The proposal was not approved by the railway ministry.