Over 40% of train seats go vacant on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route where the Centre is investing Rs 1 lakh crore for India’s first bullet train, a Right to Information reply said, according to IANS. Seats going vacant on this route accounted for a loss of Rs 30 crore in the July-September quarter for the Western Railways, the RTI reply received by Mumbai activist Anil Galgali showed.
“The Indian government is over-enthusiastic and plans to spend more than Rs 1 lakh crore on the bullet train project, but it has not done its homework properly,” Galgali was quoted as saying.
In the reply, the Western Railways said that in the last quarter, the seat vacancy on all trains on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route was 40%, and that on the Ahmedabad-Mumbai route was 44%. Of a combined seating capacity of 7.36 lakh across 32 Ahmedabad-bound express trains, only 4.42 lakh were booked during the July-September period. This generated a revenue of Rs 30.16 crore, against expectations of Rs 44.29 crore.
On the opposite route, 31 trains could accommodate 7.06 lakh people but only 3.98 lakh seats were booked. This earned a revenue of Rs 26.75 lakh, about Rs 15.79 lakh lower than expectations.
The Shatabdi Express between the two cities had 50% vacancy on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route and 66% on the return journey, Galgali said.
In September, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone for India’s first bullet train in Ahmedabad. Centre has taken a loan of Rs 88,000 crore for the project from Japan. The project is expected to be completed in 10 years.