Indian Railways has witnessed a decline in number of train passengers in recent years as people travel short distances using personal and commercial vehicles, Lok Sabha was informed today.
The decline was mainly due to fall in the number of short distance passengers even as the number of long distance travellers improved, Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha said in a written reply.
The number of passengers were 8,421 million in 2012-13 which was reduced to 8,397 million in 2013-14. The number further declined to 8,224 million in 2014-15, a fall of 2.06 per cent as compared to 2013-14.
Sinha said the decline in the number of passengers in recent years is mainly attributable to a fall in the number of short distance passengers due to improvement in road infrastructure offering better and faster connectivity leading to increase in the number of personal and commercial vehicles and diversion of passenger traffic to metro rail projects in cities.
However, he said there was increase in number of long distance passengers with large number of long distance trains having occupancy of more than 100 per cent.
Minister said steps taken by the Railways to improve earnings from the passenger trains segment include augmentation of ticket selling capacity through various measures such as operating automatic ticket vending machines, smart card operated-ticket vending machines, mobile ticketing and utilizing the service of tickets agents.
Organizing intensive ticket checking drives and augmentation of on-board capacity by attachment of additional coaches, running of special trains during festivals are, among other initiates, to improve the passenger traffic, he added.