Rationalisation of time table is an ongoing process on Indian Railways (IR) and to this end, IR has embarked upon the zero based time tabling initiative, which, inter-alia, includes scheduling of trains based on scientific principles, ensuring adequate corridor blocks for maintenance, increasing throughput by providing freight corridors, improving punctuality, improving utilization of Rolling Stock and providing convenient and efficient services to the passengers.
- The initiative, inter-alia, includes rationalization of stoppages and trains taking into account the demand, utility for the passengers and commercial viability.
- One of the aspects of the initiative will be the gradual introduction of the hub and spoke concept with a view to facilitating easy transfers between “hubs” and “spoke” and inter-modal connectivity.
- The concept also entails provision of integrated ticketing, access for persons with disability, leisure facilities, check-in facilities, transfer/transit facilities, and amenities such as travelators, escalators, elevators etc., at identified stations designated as “hubs”.
Special Trains for Passengers:
- Train services were started in phases as special trains:-
- 15 pairs of Rajdhani specials were introduced with effect from 12/05/2020.
- 100 pairs of special trains were introduced with effect from 01/06/2020.
- 43 pairs of special trains were started from 12/09/2020.
- 705 Suburban services (Central Railway-355 & Western Railway-350) were started from 15/06/2020.
- Additional Special trains, in coordination with the State Governments, were also run as per demand for Ganapati festival, and IIT-JEE/NEET and NDA & Naval Academy examinations conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
- Important provisions of Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) for movement of passengers by trains are as under:-
- For reserved trains, only reserved tickets are issued and confirmed ticket holder are allowed to enter the Railway Stations.
- No linen, blankets, curtain is provided.
- All passengers to reach station at least 90 minutes to two hours in advance.
- Provision of separate entry and exit gates at Railways Stations to the extent feasible.
- Provision of Thermal Screening at the Station. Only asymptomatic passengers are permitted to travel.
- Passengers are advised to wear mask/face cover at Stations and in the train.
- All passengers are advised to download and use the Aarogya Setu Application.
- Advised to observe social distancing both at Station and on trains.
- Advised all passengers on arrival at destination Station to follow the health protocol as prescribed by destination Station/Union Territories.
Whenever such instructions are issued, the same is publicized through different media at Ministry/Zonal/Division/Station levels, etc.
As regards occupancy, the pattern of occupancy of trains on Indian Railways, including that of special trains, varies across different sectors and seasons. The occupancy of special trains operated from 12.05.2020 onwards is not uniform and it varied on different sectors. However, during the period from 12.05.2020 to 31.08.2020, the average occupancy of these Special trains was approximately 82%.
This information was given by the Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry, Shri Piyush Goyal in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on 16 September 2020.
Source: PIB-Press Release