The turmoil in the aviation sector has had a positive spin-off on the Railways. The Railways’ revenues from passenger earnings during the first half of the current financial year grew by 12.78 per cent to Rs 11,343.57 crore, compared with Rs 10,057.72 crore during the corresponding period last year. This is more than the estimates of the Railways, which have been expecting passenger earnings to grow by around 8 per cent for 2008-09.
Though over 90 per cent rail passengers in the country travel by unreserved tickets, Rail Bhawan officials say the robust growth in passenger earnings is mainly on the account of the growth in traffic in the reserved category.
The number of passengers travelling by the public reservation system increased 14.85 per cent during the first half of 2008-09. This helped the Railways increase revenues by 20.96 per cent to Rs 5,849.10 crore, compared with Rs 4,835.76 crore in the previous year.
“We have projected passenger earnings of Rs 21,681 crore during the current financial year, which we are confident of surpassing,” said a senior railway ministry official, adding, “With airfares once more becoming expensive, the Railways have emerged as the most economical mode of transport in the country.”
During the first half of this financial year, the air fares, on an average, increased by over 15 per cent throughout the country. Compared with this, the Railways slashed passenger fares across-the-board by 3-7 per cent in Budget 2008-09.
For instance, it costs Rs 1,500 to travel from New Delhi to Mumbai in Rajdhani Express in AC-III. But the air fare is nearly Rs 7,000, or 366 per cent higher.
According to a sector analyst, the Railways have also benefitted from the increase in its passenger-carrrying capacity. Out of the 63 newly announced passenger train services during the current Railway Budget, the Railways have already introduced 21 trains, which has increased its total berthing capacity by approximately 31,500 seats.
6 months ago