Coronavirus | Railways sees surge in ticket cancellations

Safe travel: CR has stepped up its cleaning and disinfection efforts on long-distance passenger trains.

Safe travel: CR has stepped up its cleaning and disinfection efforts on long-distance passenger trains.   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

More long-distance passengers scrap travel plans compared to last year on CR, WR

The Railways have been seeing a surge in cancellations on their long-distance passenger trains over the past week, almost mirroring the increase in the cases of novel coronavirus infection in the country.

Both Central Railway (CR) and Western Railway (WR) have seen a spike in cancellations from March 6.

On March 12, of the 65,943 tickets booked on CR, 22,441 were cancelled, amounting to ₹110.27 lakh in refunds. The cancellation rate on March 12 was 34.03%, much higher than the average rate of around 14%, CR officials said.

Daily year-on-year figures from CR reveal that the rate of cancellation has been increasing since March 5, when it was around 18.4%.

WR has seen a similar trend, with more tickets being cancelled over the last week as compared to the same period in 2019. Between March 1 and March 12 last year, WR saw 4,34,403 ticket cancellations. The figure for the same period in 2020 was 5,27,045, an increase of 21.33%.

On Thursday, the year-on-year increase in ticket cancellations was pegged at 48.09%.

“We are also seeing cancellations of tickets that have been booked for journeys during the peak summer season,” a senior railway official said. For instance, between April 15 and June 15, WR has until now recorded 2,000 cancellations on the Mumbai-New Delhi Rajdhani Express.

Sources said that in a review meeting held by the Railway Minister with officials in the city on Monday, the issue of cancellations was discussed. “The cancellation rate at present is not too alarming, but if the trend continues, steps would need to be taken to ensure that trains don’t run empty,” a senior railway official said.

CR has stepped up its cleaning and disinfection efforts on long-distance passenger trains, with a focus on wiping and cleaning of all passenger interface areas in coaches, such as door handles, berth grab handles and wash basins. Toilets are being cleaned and disinfected and staff has been directed to frequently clean coaches en route and ensure that handwash doesn’t run out.

CR has also started disinfecting local trains, focusing on grab handles and poles.

Meanwhile, as a preventive measure, CR has closed its Heritage Museum at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and suspended its tour of the station until March 31.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 9:00:19 AM |

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