April 20th, 2016
Financial prudence seem to have taken a back seat
A new study at the IIM, Ahmedabad has revealed that the proposed bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad will need to carry 88,000 to 1,18,000 passengers per day for the project to be economically viable on the long run, reports IndiaSpend. The bullet train will run at 240 kmph, reducing travel time between the two cities — a distance of 534 km — to two hours from the present eight hours, reports Mint.
Basis of the study
The study considered an approximate travel cost of Rs 5 per km per passenger. After accounting for travel over shorter distances along the same line, an average fare of Rs 1,500 per passenger (for 300 km) was considered. This means a first-class ticket from Mumbai to Ahmedabad on the bullet train will cost Rs 2,670, said the same study.
Train vs Air Travel
The current cost of a first-class railway ticket from Mumbai to Ahmedabad is typically Rs 660, while a second class ticket costs Rs 180. This means a passenger will save about six hours on a bullet train, but the journey will cost Rs 2,000 more. On the other hand, a flight from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, which takes about 75-80 minutes, typically costs anywhere between Rs 2,000 and Rs 4,000 in the economy class, but the timings may not always be suitable for passengers.
G Raghuram, an IIM,A professor, co-author of the study has said that a train usually carries 800 passengers, so to carry 88,000 passengers daily, it needs to take 100 trips, or 50 trips each way. For that we need three trains every hour in each direction. Which is not impossible, but it surely will take a huge capital investment.
The Logical Indian urges the government and ministry of railways to take into consideration the study done by IIM A. There was barely any demand for bullet train between two well connected cities. Bullet train at hindsight certainly looks more like a statement of intent than fulfilling a purpose. Given the huge population of India, mass transport at affordable rates are the need of the hour. However, it is a good thing to be ambitious but ambition should be aligned with financial prudence.
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