Here’s why senior citizen travellers are avoiding Indian Railways, officials state key reasons
The number of senior citizen travellers saw a 24 percent dip in 2021-22 compared to the data of 2019-20, with only around 1.9 crore citizens travelling in 2021-22 in trains, reports PTI.
The number of senior citizens using trains in the Indian Railways decreased by roughly 24 percent between 2019–2020 and 2021–22, as per data revealed by an RTI. According to officials, the second wave of COVID-19, when fewer people were using trains, may be to blame for this decline. They claimed that this was also the time the Railways discontinued senior citizen discounts. Senior persons travelled by train in 7.1 crore cases in 2018–2019 and 7.2 crore cases in 2019–2020.
In the pandemic-hit 2020-21, only around 1.9 crore citizens aged above 60 years travelled by train. However, in 2021-22, about 5.5 crore used the Railways. Due to the decrease in the number of passengers, the Railways has experienced a dip in revenue from this category, with the earnings showing a downward slide of 13 percent.
The total revenue from senior citizen travellers during 2018-2019 was Rs 2,920 crore, Rs 3,010 crore in 2019-2020, Rs 875 crore in 2020-21, and Rs 2,598 crore in 2021-22, according to the RTI response.
The coronavirus-related travel restrictions imposed during the first wave of COVID-19 in 2020 continued to be in place until the end of the second wave of the pandemic. Women senior citizen travellers are eligible for a 50 percent concession, while men and transgender people can avail of 40 percent in all classes. The minimum age limit for women passengers to avail the concession is 58, while it is 60 for men.
The concessions, which were put on hold from March 2020, have remained suspended to this day, with senior officials indicating that they might not be re-introduced. The data, however, shows that in the first six months of this fiscal, the Railways are on course to recover its lost traffic. Till September this year, 3.8 crore senior citizens have availed train services, and the Railways has generated a revenue of Rs 2,335 crore.
With inputs from PTI