8.6 Billion Passengers: Indian Railways’ Target for 2019-20

The Indian Railways has set itself a target of 8.6 billion originating passengers in the financial year 2019-20. This is a 1.83% increase over the actual passengers originated in the previous financial year at 8.43 billion.

IR exceeded its own targets of 8.30 billion originating passengers set for 2018-19 by approximately 1.61%.

The zone-wise target data suggest that IR expects much of the growth to come from zones that have high volumes of suburban traffic. Zones like Central Railway, Western Railway, Southern Railway, South Eastern Railway and Eastern Railway, run suburban trains in cities like Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata and are expected to grow at anywhere between 1.6 and 2.5%.

The data also suggests that IR does not expect long-distance passenger traffic to grow significantly. IR’s passenger traffic growth stalled in 2013-14 with originating passenger traffic declining to 8.39 billion, and continued to decline till 2015-16, reaching 8.1 billion before gradually inching back up again to 8.3 billion in 2018-19.

The pace of growth of non-suburban traffic has gradually declined over the years, thanks to increased incomes and better roads taking away short distance passengers, coupled with the inability of IR to add new services to meet demand.

Air traffic has also weaned long-distance premium passenger traffic away from IR, with double-digit air passenger traffic growth year on year as airline fares began to match rail fares.

Breakup of Zone-wise targets for the year 2019-20 for originating passenger traffic:

Railway Zone (All figures are in millions)Originating Passengers Target 2019-20Originating Passengers Actual in 2018-19
Central Railway (CR)1,893.151,847.06
Eastern Railway (ER)1,297.521,266.65
East Central Railway (ECR)251.08249.53
East Coast Railway (ECoR)100.2799.65
Northern Railway (NR)571.63568.11
North Central Railway (NCR)171.78170.72
North Eastern Railway (NER)191.94190.76
Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR)111.00110.32
North Western Railway (NWR)180.98179.86
Southern Railway (SR)851.73837.71
South Central Railway (SCR)386.17382.66
South Eastern Railway (SER)270.59265.96
South East Central Railway (SECR)123.09122.34
South Western Railway (SWR)194.71193.51
Western Railway (WR)1,641.641,603.88
West Central Railway (WCR)137.29136.44
Metro Railway (Kolkata)219.21213.30

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