In the Mumbai local trains, during peak hours, number of passengers per square meter of coach floor area is 10.
Apart from physical discomfort, it is against dignity of being human to pack human bodies so closely.
But that is a daily humiliation for close to 35 lakh human beings, who incidently power the city that gives us our maximum tax revenue.
How that has come to be?
Passenger fares of Mumbai local trains are the lowest in the world. So there is no money with the railway to invest in capacity enhancement works. Capacity utilization is totally saturated, with every new train leading to slowing down of whole corridor.
In case of long distance trains, in non-reserved coaches, it is impossible for a passenger to reach toilet, and if at all she manages to reach there, she finds that at least four passengers are travelling in the toilet also.
This is repeated daily with lakhs of passengers over thousands of kilometers.
Capacity can not be enhanced because Railway has no money for that.
Railway is starved for funds because passengers fares have not been increased for last ten years. In case of input costs; staff costs alone, which are almost 60% of the total costs incurred by the Railway, increase on an average by 20% every year. Freight rates are increased to bridge the gap a bit, but that only leads to customers shifting to trucks, thus reducing the goods traffic carried by the Railway.
Passenger fares were not increased for the last ten years because the government was a coalition government, and either ministry was always with the most populist and economically illiterate coalition partner, or such partner made sure that no passenger fares were raised, under threat of bringing down the government.
Modi government came with an absolute majority.
In Gujarat, Modi made sure that full electricty cost was recovered from consumers, and as a result Gujarat has guaranteed 24 hour electricty supply. He made sure that correct road tax is recovered, and as a result Gujarat has the best roads in the country.
It is not known what has taken over him, but since the time Modi has shifted to Delhi, all his economic acumen seems to have deserted him. He seems to be content to run the Socialist State better than the socialists themselves. Good luck with that Mr Modi.
It is not about you. It is about this unfortunate country of 125 crore people. It will only see economic decline, unemployment, and impoverishment. In blind rage, it will bring back real socialists in 2019, and they will make sure that decline becomes collapse.
And it is not that wrong decisions have been taken on earning side. On expenditure side also, money is planned to be spent on frills like free wifi. Companies offer frills when they need to attract customers. Railway has a surfeit of customers that it is unable to serve. It is beyond understanding why it should waste money on such useless but costly frills. Give the passengers berths, give them space to stand, and they will worship you.
Next year Bihar will have elections. So it will be thought to be imprudent to increase rail fares. Then General Elections will come closer. If a full majority government can’t increase fares in its first year, there is no way it will be able to do so later. Indian Railway is doomed. The most vital infrastructure of the country is being destroyed because of economic illiteracy and ghosts of socialism.