Mumbai: Poor response grounds Tejas Express
Despite the IRCTC offering several tour packages to increase occupancy, WR decides to halt the trains within a month of resuming services after Unlock
The fancy Tejas Express is back in the yard! A month after the trains resumed operations amid the Unlock, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) said they have decided to cancel services of both the Tejas trains following 'low occupancy' due to the pandemic. The Mumbai-Ahmedabad and Lucknow-Delhi Tejas express services will be closed from November 24 and 23, respectively.
A note from Western Railway (WR) confirmed the development and stated, "On account of poor occupancy levels due to Coronavirus pandemic, it has been decided by IRCTC to cancel all the trips of train no. 82902/82901 Ahmedabad- Mumbai Central Tejas Express with effect from November 24, 2020, till further notice."
Group General Manager (services) Awadesh Kumar in an internal official letter to Principal Executive Director (Coaching) had also said that the management had decided to cancel all departures of Tejas trains due to low occupancy levels. According to sources, losses were running into lakhs for every trip.
"The position may be reviewed after seeing the occupancy on these sectors in the future," the letter added.
The Tejas Express had become the first train to serve cooked food on long-distance trains since the Unlock and passengers onboard the train were provided with a medical safety kit that contains a face shield, masks, gloves, etc. However, the response had been low.
As a last-ditch effort, the IRCTC Western Zone did try to increase the occupancy of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Tejas Express by announcing tour packages last week between Mumbai and Vadodara-Ahmedabad in Gujarat. The IRCTC was taking only 50 per cent of the actual capacity following social distancing norms, but only 25 to 40 per cent out of the total 736 seats were occupied as against 50-80 per cent pre-pandemic.
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