Ashwini Vaishnaw, ET TravelWorld News, ET TravelWorld

Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw
Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw

The number of passengers travelling in air-conditioned coaches reduced by more than 70 per cent in 2020-21 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw informed the parliament on Friday. In reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, he said during the year 2019-20, there was an increase of around 4 per cent in passengers who travelled by air-conditioned (AC) coaches and a 70 per cent drop was observed in 2020-21 among such passengers, as compared to the previous year. ‘

“During the year 2019-20 and 2020-21, the number of passengers who travelled in Air Conditioned (AC) coaches were 181 million and 49 million respectively, which is (+3.92%) more and (-73.23%) less from their respective previous years.

Many travellers have already booked trips for the Christmas period, however, since the emergence of Omicron variant last week, there are growing industry concerns over a pause in future bookings and further delays.

“The drop observed recently is on account of Covid-19 pandemic due to which limited train services were operational and people were also avoiding travel unless it was urgent,” he said. The railways had suspended all its regular services in March 2020 amid the pandemic outbreak.

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