More than 2.7 crore passengers could not travel by train in 2022-23 despite buying tickets because of being waitlisted, according to the response to an RTI query, indicating shortage of trains on busy routes in the country. During the last fiscal year, this number stood at 1.65 crore. According to a reply to an RTI plea filed by Madhya Pradesh-based activist Chandra Shekhar Gaur, the Railway Board said that in 2022-2023, a total of 1.76 crore Passenger Name Record (PNR) numbers, against which 2.72 crore passengers were scheduled to travel, were automatically cancelled due to being waitlisted.
In 2021-2022, a total of 1.06 crore PNR numbers, against which 1.65 crore passengers were scheduled to travel, were automatically cancelled. After cancellation of PNRs, the ticket fare is refunded to the passengers. The inability to provide confirmed tickets to passengers has been a recurrent problem with the national transporter.
In 2014-15, the number of cancelled PNRs stood at 1.13 crore, and in 2015-2016, it was 81.05 lakh. In 2016-2017, it was 72.13 lakh, in 2017-18, 73 lakh, and in 2018-2019, the number stood at 68.97 lakh, according to official figures. In the year 2020-21, the total number of PNRs auto cancelled due to remaining in waiting list was 38.89 lakh and 61 lakh passengers were booked on these PNRs.
The Railways has said it is making efforts to increase the capacity to make trains available on demand. “This would reduce the possibility of passengers getting waitlisted,” an official said. Officials also pointed out that before the COVID pandemic, the Railways ran 10,186 trains, which has gone up to 10,678 trains at present.
“All over the network signalling and track work is ongoing. This is also being done so that more trains can be put into service,” the official said.
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