New Delhi: An over 4 per cent fall in passenger bookings between April and August, this year has left the Indian Railway worried and raising concerns about a possible rise in passenger subsidy.
A total of 3,427.84 million passengers travelled by trains during April and August as against 3,575.30 million during the corresponding period of the last year, a difference of 147.46 million, recording a fall of 4.12 per cent, according to the country's largest public transporters. Railways earned Rs19, 394.75crores during the period as against the target of Rs20, 204.85crore, a shortfall of 4.95 per cent. Sources said if the down slide is not checked, passenger subsidy which hovers around Rs29, 000crore a year now, may go up further. Railway's passenger operations are heavily cross-subsidised from freight business and any further decline in passenger earnings is a matter of serious concern for the public transporters The railways run 13,000 passenger trains every day with a daily rider ship estimated at 23 million - one of the biggest in the world. However the pathetic