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Western Railway rejects reports of high vacancy on bullet train route, claims full occupancy on Mumbai-Ahmedabad trains

Mumbai: The Western Railway (WR) has rubbished reports that 40 percent seats on all the trains in the Mumbai-Ahmedabad section go vacant and claimed that the occupancy was over 100 per cent in these trains.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal also tweeted saying, "Contrary to media reports, Mumbai-Ahmedabad train section running at above 100% occupancy and will benefit immensely from Bullet train (sic)."

The WR, in a statement, said it would like to clarify that reports regarding 40 percent seats being vacant in the trains running or passing between Mumbai and Ahmedabad and that the WR had incurred losses of Rs 30 crore in the sector over the last three months were not factually correct, as in fact, there was over a 100 percent occupancy in the section.

Goyal also posted the WR statement on Twitter.

WR's Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) Ravinder Bhakar said, "Contrary to the reports, the Western Railway's total earnings during the said three months from this sector were Rs 233 crore."

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Earlier, city-based Right to Information (RTI) activist Anil Galgali had claimed to have found through a query that there was a difference of Rs 29 crore in the WR's actual earnings and earning potential, because the trains running in the Mumbai-Ahmedabad section had 40 percent vacant seats.

Galgali had also raised a concern over the bullet train project, saying it was "not a viable option" financially as well as from the point of view of the common man.

The activist had claimed that the WR's Chief Commercial Manager, Manjeet Singh, provided him the information for the period between 1 July and 30 September, 2017, giving details about 32 mail and express trains running or passing between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

Bhakar said the reply to the RTI query was against a specific question regarding the number of passengers travelling from Mumbai Central to Ahmedabad and from Ahmedabad to Mumbai Central - only these two stations.

He added that the reply did not include information about the en route traffic — the number of passengers travelling from the originating station to intermediate stations, intermediate to intermediate stations and intermediate stations to the destination station — thereby showing a lower occupancy.

"It is pertinent to mention that despite the period from July to September, 2017 being a lean season, the occupancy was above 100 percent and the figure (of occupancy) for the period from October, 2016 to September, 2017 for 34 trains was 124.72 percent," the CPRO said.

Rail activist Rajiv Singal also said, "I am a frequent traveller on this route and I have always found wait-listed tickets on these trains."

The Mumbai-Ahmedabad section is one of the busiest routes of the Indian Railways. Nine direct trains run between the two cities and around 25 more travel to forward destinations via Ahmedabad, the WR statement said.

The section also has important en route stations and industrial towns such as Vadodara, Bharuch, Surat, Vapi and Valsad, it added.

Updated Date: Nov 02, 2017 14:08 PM

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