The railways’ passenger traffic volumes have registered a drop over the last three years due, among other reasons, to improved road infrastructure and the growing number of personal and commercial vehicles, Lok Sabha was informed today.
Railways ferried 2.06 per cent passengers less, or 8,224 million passengers (provisional), in the 2014-15 fiscal as compared to 8,397 million passengers who had travelled with the national transporter during 2013-14, Minister of State for Railways, Manoj Sinha, told the Lower House.
The number of passengers who travelled by railways during 2012-13 was 8,421 million, he added.
The decline in passenger traffic can be attributed to various factors, including changed norms/regulations for concessional tickets, improvement in road infrastructure offering better and faster connectivity and leading to an increase in the number of personal and commercial vehicles, he said.
Besides, diversion of traffic to Metro rail projects in cities, impact of natural disasters like floods and heavy monsoons and closure of certain sections are also among the contributing factors, he added.
Sinha said that railways have taken several measures to improve passenger traffic, like raising capacity by adding extra coaches and operating special trains during festival and holiday periods.
Besides, the minister said, ticket-selling capacity has also been augmented by other measures, including installation of automatic ticket vending, cash-coin and smart ticketing machines and introducing mobile ticketing.
Meanwhile, responding to another question, he said that the capacity of the new e-ticketing system, which was rolled out in April last year, has been enhanced to 15,000 tickets per minute and three lakh concurrent users.