Introduced amid much fanfare in December 2009,Yuva trains meant for unemployed youth have failed to draw their target audience. Following low occupancy of seats reserved for youth,Railways have brought down the quota from 60 per cent to 20 per cent,since the end of March.
The two Yuva trains Nizamuddin-Bandra Terminus and New Delhi-Howrah despite running on routes with heavy rush throughout the year,have failed to draw reasonable occupancy. The reason for low occupancy is the uncomfortable 16-hour ride in chair cars.
According to official Railways estimates,the Nizamuddin to Bandra Terminus train which runs every Saturday has seen a booking percentage of 75 from April 2011 to March 2012 while its return journey was 88 per cent booked. In 53 trips from Nizamuddin to Bandra,the total berth potential was 43,044 seats,of which 32,117 seats were occupied. In its return trips,out of a total berth potential of 43,248 seats,37,952 passengers took the train.
The other weekly Yuva train from New Delhi to Howrah has witnessed lower occupancy with trains running to Howrah recording a booked percentage of 81 and those on its return trip witnessing just 62 per cent booking.
The Nizamuddin to Bandra train stops at Mathura,Kota,Ratlam,Vadodara and Surat stations. These were chosen carefully to ensure good ridership,but have failed to attract passengers.
Similarly,the New Delhi to Howrah train stops at stations like Kanpur,Allahabad,Mughalsarai,Dhanbad and Asansol. Former Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee had said these stations would connect youth from the hinterlands.
Records show that from December 2010 to May 2011,in the Nizamuddin to Bandra Terminus train,just 74 of 12,506 seats were taken by youth a one per cent utilisation of quota. The New Delhi – Howrah train,769 of 15,834 seats were occupied by youth a utilisation of just five per cent.
The occupancy figures for the youth quota continued to be dismal even in the fiscal year of 2011-12 and hence a policy change decision was taken to reduce the quota from 60 per cent to 20, said a senior Railways official.