In the 12 months since their introduction, the AC three-tier economy class coaches have earned the Railways revenues of more than ₹230 crore, though only about 370 of them have been put to use till now. Given the good demand, the Railways now plans to add more such coaches, according to a source.
The coaches were introduced in August 2021, and the tariff was about 6-7% cheaper than that of the regular AC three-tier class. The economy version has a capacity of 83 berths as against 72 berths of the regular coach. It comes with individual AC vents for each berth, redesigned seats and berths, foldable snack tables, water holders, and individual reading lights and mobile charging points with USB ports.
According to the source, the Railways has ferried over 21 lakh passengers so far. “We have got a very good response for the newly introduced economy class coaches. The trend shows there is some migration of passengers who regularly travel via sleeper class but aspire to travel in AC,” the source said.
The source, however, added that some passengers from third AC may also have chosen to travel on the economy class given the fare difference.
While between August 2021-March 2022, about five lakh passengers chose to travel economy class, the number jumped to 15.76 lakh during the five month period in the current financial year from April-August, as more such coaches were added, generating revenues of ₹176 crore.
“Given the increased demand, we will be adding more economy class coaches with AC. In the past three months (June, July and August), we have ferried over three lakh passengers via these coaches. In August, over 3.8 lakh passengers travelled via third AC Three Tier economy class,” the source said.
For Railways, the revenues from passenger traffic grew to ₹25,276.54 crore in the first five months of this fiscal year, with an increase of ₹13,574.44 crore from the same period.