Few takers for premier Rajdhani due to Covid-19

MUMBAI: Premier Rajdhani Express (Mumbai Central-New Delhi) is running at low occupancy due to coronavirus fear and low economic activity in June. Both cities are badly affected by coronavirus. Indian Railways had begun limited operations for long-distance trains. But frequency of trains between Howrah and Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad were reduced from daily to weekly on the request of West Bengal government, a railway official said.Trains are running to various parts of India from Mumbai. The special train between Mumbai Central and New Delhi follows the path of the regular Rajdhani Express, which halts at Surat, Vadodara, Kota, Ratlam and Nagda Junction. This service began on May 12. A Western Railway (WR) official said, “Mumbai-New Delhi service had 23,571 passengers in June, with an occupancy of 73%. It seems people are scared to travel to Delhi and vice versa.” For New Delhi-Mumbai, there were 12,160 passengers, with a dismal occupancy of 37%.” Since Mumbai-New Delhi also halts at Surat and Vadodara in Gujarat, some passengers book for these destinations as there are not many trains or buses to Gujarat due to lockdown. Another WR official said, “New Delhi also provides good connectivity to neighbouring states like Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Many must be travelling to New Delhi as there are no direct trains to their home states. They travel by private transport to their home town.” In May, bookings for the train were full across classes. Most passengers were not Delhi or Mumbai residents. They took the train as these stations were nearest to their final destination, which was accessible by road transport. While Mumbai is the financial capital, New Delhi being the national capital, a lot travel used to be for business. Due to lockdown, economic activity has come to standstill, which prevented people from travelling to these destinations. A railway official said, “Comparatively, trains to other parts of the country are running at full capacity as people are going to their home towns due to economic distress or they are migrants returning due to the gradual reopening of industries and resumption of other economic activities.”