Chennai is the only railway division in the country where there has been an increase in passenger traffic in the first five months of the 2015-16 financial year when compared to the corresponding period last year.
The top six railway divisions, based on the volume of unreserved tickets sold (including suburban tickets), are Mumbai Central and Western, Sealdah, Chennai, Howrah and Delhi, all of which run suburban trains that contribute a bulk of this traffic. Railways reported a drop of 3.44% in this passenger segment. The Mumbai divisions, catering to more than 75 lakh passengers a day, saw a 10% drop in April-August from the previous year, Delhi saw a drop of 4.35%, while Sealdah and Howrah saw a drop of around 3.5%.
Bucking the national trend, Chennai division reported an increase of 1.51%, seen as a major achievement. The division aggressively promoted automatic ticket vending machines and stepped up ticket checks. The introduction of mobile app is bound to help in the coming months.
“Transporting passengers is the bread and butter of Indian Railways and the drop in number of tickets sold has worried everybody. The Railway Board has instructed all divisions to take steps to find out the reasons for the drop and check the trend,” said a senior official of Chennai division.
Officials said 50 additional ticket-checkers had been deployed at stations and Railway Protection Force chipped in with a ‘show your ticket’ drive at 13 stations (see box for list), with dedicated RPF personnel manning all entry and exit points.
Sales from Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs) in Chennai division increased by 25% compared to the corresponding period of the previous year and this is due to 15 additional facilitators deployed a few months ago, officials said.