Chhat causes passenger rush for Railways

Published: Nov 13, 2010, 06:37 IST | Vedika Chaubey

Overbooking leaves many stranded as airfares too unaffordable

Overbooking leaves many stranded as airfares too unaffordable

This year, pay Rs 13,000 to go home for Chhat Puja or just miss the festivities. That's because there is no way you'll be able to reserve a seat in trains.
The last minute rush of Mumbaikars who visit Patna on Chhat, has shot the air fares northwards and overbooked the trains as well.

Rail burden

The scenario of train bookings on Mumbai-Patna route, the most affordable way to travel, is very grim these days.

Women perform Chhat puja at Juhu beach yesterday

A Central Railway official said, "The Railway PRO department is full of influential letters for seat confirmation, but to no avail.
Even top railway authorities have to give a special letter for confirmation along with special remarks and request for confirmation."

Usually, a 20-coach train has a carrying capacity of 2,000 passengers, but during Chhat, the bookings per train have reached 12,000 per train.

"To cater to the extra rush, we are running three special trains from Mumbai. We are occupying almost 5,000 passengers in these special trains," said S Mudgerikar, Chief PRO, CR.

Steep airfare

Railway officials said that one reason for over booking of trains is increase in airfare during Chhat.

Dombivli resident Amit Ranjan wanted to fly to Patna with his mother but rise in airfare had him hanging around for train bookings.
"It's pathetic. Why don't airlines announce earlier that they will increase fares? At least one can then book rail tickets in advance."

"Rates go up during Chhat puja because of limited number of direct flights to Patna," said the owner of an Andheri-based ticketing agency.
"Most tickets are booked in advance and remaining tickets become costlier for passengers. For cheaper flights, passengers will have to go via Delhi or Kolkata."

The fare for this break journey range between Rs 6,000 to Rs 10,000 and the travel time can take as long as 15 hours.

Inputs by Bipin Singh

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