The Indian Railways witnessed a 230 percent jump in its ticket bookings over the last three weeks after various states eased the COVID-19 curbs. The overall occupancy of mail and express trains has also improved.
The total booking of reserved passengers on June 7 stood at 14.6 lakh as compared to 6.3 lakh on May 15, the Times of India reported citing ministry sources.
The overall occupancy of mail and express trains has also seen an improvement and has gone to 90 percent in the last week from 60 percent in mid-May. Currently, the Railways is running 889 Special Mail Express trains daily.
The report said that the passengers were allowed to book tickets in advance for future travel and cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Secunderabad, and Bengaluru witnessed a high volume of traffic in the last few days.
Railway Board chairman and CEO Suneet Sharma while addressing a press conference said the railways is ready to run more trains to meet the increase in demand and they plan to run 100 more trains in the next few days.
"We want to normalise services as soon as possible. We had operationalised about 1,500 trains before the second wave of the pandemic. However, due to the pandemic and restrictions on movement in various States, we faced challenges," Sharma said.
Sharma added that around 6.5 lakh employees have been vaccinated so far and they are in talks with various states to get their employees jabbed on priority.
He also said that around 2,600 employees have lost the battle to COVID-19 so far. On the bright side, the total number of new cases has fallen to between 100 and 150, from 1,000 in May. Around 3,500-4,000 railway employees are currently undergoing treatment or recovering.