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Indian Railways soar as summer travel demand spikes by 20% year-on year

The rush has led to long waitlists for trains to major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru

Indian Railways soar as summer travel demand spikes by 20% year-on year
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Indian Railways experience a surge in summer travel demand, with a notable 20% increase year-on-year, reflecting a growing trend in travel preferences.

As temperatures soar across India, train travel is booming this summer. Searches for train tickets in May and June have surged by a scorching 20 percent compared to last year, according to travel booking platform ixigo.

This spike is driven by a mix of factors, including escapes from the heat, weekend getaways, election travel, and summer vacations, as industry players have noted.

The rush has led to long waitlists for trains to major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru.

Data from Confirm TKT indicates that wait times for sleeper classes are exceeding 70-100 passengers for late May travel on routes like New Delhi-Mumbai (with waitlists surpassing 50 passengers) and New Delhi-Bengaluru (with waitlists ranging between 70-100 passengers).

According to ixigo, the most booked train route for May 2024 is between Mumbai and Pune, a popular choice for weekend escapes to the scenic hill station.

Other popular routes include Chennai to Bengaluru, Mumbai to Surat (a hub for both business and leisure due to its diamond trading), Ahmedabad to Mumbai (primarily business travel), and Kanpur to New Delhi.

The heatwave is a major driver behind the surge in train travel, with travelers seeking air-conditioned comfort.

This is reflected in a 10 percent year-over-year increase in AC train searches.

Data from IRCTC shows a significant shift towards AC bookings in Q3FY24, with AC class bookings reaching 550 lakhs compared to 456 lakhs for non-AC and 140 lakhs for second sitting, highlighting the clear preference for AC travel.

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