The Covid-19 pandemic seems to have forced passengers to stay away from rail travel in India. Data from the India’s ministry of railway has revealed that railway ticket cancellations have more than doubled compared with March 2019.
According to data obtained by Sputnik, compared with 17 percent cancellations between March 11 and March 13, 2019, the cancellation rate has almost doubled to 30 percent year-on-year.
Data from the ministry of railways show that 1.8 million tickets out of 3.5 million tickets booked for travel between 11 and 13 March were cancelled as people decided not to travel. On the same days in March last year, 0.64 million tickets out of 3.8 million were cancelled.
A senior official from the railway ministry said that “the cancellation of tickets have gone up from almost 17 percent in March 2019 to 31 percent in March 2019. In normal circumstances, almost 0.2 to 0.25 million tickets gets cancelled on a daily basis.”
The coronavirus outbreak will hit passenger revenues as Indian railways carry million passengers daily. For the financial year 2019-20 (April 2019 – March 2020), the railway has budgeted passenger revenue of $7.56 billion.
Another senior railway official said that even though the losses may look small, they may get larger if the problem persists. The Indian railway is the world’s fourth largest railway network after United States, China and Russia, but is the world’s largest employer with 1.3 million people.
The railway is also cancelling 23 trains due to low occupancy as a result of Covid-19.