There has been a very poor response to the first double-decker service from Mumbai to Goa, with barely 10 per cent of the tickets sold in three days since bookings opened. Central Railway officials said just 100 tickets had been sold of the total 960 seats available on the train till Monday evening.
According to the sources the train will leave Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, Kurla, at 5.30am, and after stops at Thane at 6.02am and Panvel at 6.50am arrive at Karmali in Goa at 4.30pm the same day. The railway ministry has pulled out all stops this time in view of the polls in Maharashtra later this year. In addition to the double-decker service there will be Shatabdi premium services on the route and special permission has been given for more than the five halts stipulated for such premium trains.
The trains are to have seven halts, so more passengers can avail of the service. Even the timings have been chosen carefully keeping in mind the travel pattern on the Mumbai-Goa sector. “It is going to be a very important time when the railway’s will know how this new policy to saturate a sector with special trains during the festival period turns out. This could be repeated on various other sectors for other festivals like Durga Puja, Diwali, Christmas and so on,” the official said. “So, officials are keeping their fingers crossed.”
The slow response to the double-decker special service has set off concerns among CR officials over whether they may have gone a step too far on the number of trains deployed on the route. “This is the biggest deployment of air-condition special trains on the Mumbai-Goa route during the Ganpati festival. All of them are premium services at market-controlled ticket prices. Would it have been better to schedule more usual fixed-fare services? We will get the answer in a few days,” the CR official said.
[su_highlight background=”#1c58eb” color=”#fafcfc”]Why double-decker service to Goa? [/su_highlight]The double-decker will launch the festival season schedule during which the railway has planned to run about 50 special air-condition trains. “Perhaps, it is early to say as there are three days more and ticket sales may pick up. It’s also possible that August 22 is a bit early for the Ganpati rush to begin. We expect a better response for the trips from August 26 onwards,” said a senior CR official.
[su_highlight background=”#1c58eb” color=”#fafcfc”]Is it different from regular service? [/su_highlight]The double-decker train is a premium service for which the railways has fixed market-controlled charges. Ticket prices are at about Rs1,400 from a base fare of Rs1,055, officials said.