BENGALURU: The Covid-19 special train pair between Bengaluru and Mysuru, later changed to run to Chamundi Express timings to suit those commuting for work, has picked up occupancy and now hovers around an average of 60%. However, the non-acceptance of season tickets and the maximum limit of 12 reserved tickets per month permitted by IRCTC is making the trips a costly affair, say commuters.
At present, six pairs of Covid-19 specials connect the two cities. The daily trains are Hampi spl; Golgumbaz Spl, KSR Bengaluru-Mysuru Spl (Raja Rani Exp timings) and KSR Bengaluru-Mys spl (Chamundi Exp timings). The KSR Bengaluru-Mangaluru Central Spl via Mysuru is run thrice a week and Jaipur-Mysuru Exp Spl via Bengaluru twice a week.
S Yogendra, member, Mysuru Grahakara Parishat Users, said that since only those with reserved tickets are permitted to travel, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) needs to give some relaxation as a good number commute daily to work between the two destinations as well as the cities en route.“The IRCTC permits only a maximum of 12 tickets to be booked a month online for those whose accounts are linked to Aadhaar cards. It is only 6 tickets for accounts not linked. On the rest of the days, a person who commutes daily for work has to queue up at PRS counters to book them,” he said.
Again, the cost works out to Rs 80 one way between Bengaluru and Mysuru since season tickets are not allowed on these trains. Passenger trains which cost Rs 35 for a one-way ticket are not operational. “Garment workers and in the organised sector now spend up to 30% of their earnings on commuting,” Yogendra said.
Priya Shetty, PRO, Mysuru Railway Division, said, “The occupancy has really improved for the Spl train numbered 06503/06504 which runs to Chamundi Express timings.”On the possibility of allowing season tickets on board the special trains, Senior Divisional Commercial Manager A N Krishna Reddy said, “The ministry in consultation with the Railway Board is increasing the number of special trains to cater to the requirements of commuters and might consider this in future.”