BENGALURU: Railway stations across Bengaluru Railway Division are noticing a marked increase in footfall this week. The average flow of crowd in the Division has shot up from an average of 2 to 2.5 lakh passengers per day to over 3 lakh passengers. The new COVID-19 variant and the new restrictions being announced for travel across the country by different States could also be one of the triggers.
Every train is departing full and the wait-listed sheet of regular trains is long, said, top officials. “The Commercial department has its hands full with the EQ (Emergency Quota) requests from public surging. This is happening only since Monday,” said a senior official.
Another official billed it “as a phenomenal increase in passengers. It is inexplicable and we are clueless about the reason. This is an important period for auspicious occasions. The Diwali and Navratri festivals are just over and we did not expect such a rush. It feels as if those who did not travel all these days have suddenly decided to pack off and leave.”
Another railway official said, “It could be the fear of talk of a new variant of COVID and subsequent lockdown worries. But no one is really sure.”
However, Divisional Railway Manager, Bengaluru Division, Shyam Singh stated that he did not get any such reports of an increase in crowds at stations from his staff.
Trains to Guwahati from Yesvantpur as well as Cantonment and those to Howrah from Yesvantpur are the ones overbooked with stations milling with those seeking a reserved ticket, said another official.
When Express visited the Cantonment railway station, a few were found lying inside the stations in their wait for trains.
Passengers gave different reasons for leaving. “I have not gone home for many days. Just going to bring my family back here,” said Vir Das, waiting to depart by the Guwahati Express.
Buddhadeb Das, also waiting for the same train, added, “My uncle had passed away and so I am forced to leave suddenly.”