The Ministry of Railways has taken a bold step by announcing an ambitious goal to eliminate waiting lists entirely within the next 4-5 years. The comprehensive plan revealed by ministry sources aims to tackle the increasing demand, especially for general and sleeper-class coaches.
From April to October 2023, data indicates a significant shift in passenger distribution. Non-AC coaches, including General and Sleeper classes, carried 95.3% of the total passengers, reaching an impressive 372 crore passengers.
This marks a substantial increase of 38 crore passengers from the previous year, highlighting the growing preference for economical travel.In contrast, AC coaches accommodated 4.7% of the total passengers, totaling 18.2 crore travelers—a notable increase of 3.1 crore passengers compared to the previous year.
The overall surge in passenger numbers amounted to 41.1 crore, representing a 92.5% increase in non-AC passengers (general & sleeper class). This shift reflects changing trends in passenger preferences towards more budget-friendly travel options.
To meet this rising demand, Indian Railways has significantly expanded its services. Compared to pre-COVID days, there are now an additional 562 trains operational daily across the IR network.
This expansion spans various categories, with mail/express trains increasing from 1,768 to 2,122, suburban trains from 5,626 to 5,774, and passenger trains from 2,792 to 2,852, resulting in a total of 10,748 trains running each day.
This proactive approach not only addresses the current surge in demand but also sets the stage for a future where waiting lists become obsolete, ensuring a smoother and more efficient travel experience for millions of passengers.