New Delhi: More than 1.60 crore passengers could not travel by trains in 2021-22 despite buying tickets due to being on the waiting list, according to a reply to an RTI query, indicating the paucity of trains on busy routes in the country. Railway Board said that in 2021-2022, a total of 1,06,19,487 (1.06 crore) Passenger Name Record (PNR) numbers, against which 1,65,01,187 (1.65 crore) passengers were scheduled to travel, was canceled automatically. Being placed on a waiting list. After the cancellation of the PNR, the ticket fare is refunded to the passengers.

The reply to the RTI filed by Madhya Pradesh-based activist Chandrashekhar Gaur also said that around 5 crore PNRs were automatically canceled due to being on the waiting list in the last five years. The inability to provide confirmed tickets to passengers has been a frequent problem with the national transporter. While in 2014-15, the number of canceled PNRs was 1.13 crore (1,13,17,481), in 2015-2016 the number was 81.05 lakh (81,05,022), in 2016-2017 it was 72.13 lakh (72,13,131) According to official data, in 2017-18 it was 73 lakh (73,02,042) and in 2018-2019 this number was 68.97 lakh (68,97,922).

In the year 2020-21, the total number of PNRs canceled due to remaining in the waiting list was 38,89,379 (38.89 lakh) and 61 lakh (61,14,915) passengers were booked on these PNRs. As per the data, the railway passenger sector requirement in 2019-2020 was 8.4 billion and the average decline in waiting lists was 8.9 per cent. During peak season, 13.3 per cent passengers could not get confirmed reservations. With the demand for more number of trains from passengers, Railways has introduced around 800 new trains in the last six years, ever since the Rail Budget was merged with the General Budget. Budget for the year 2016.

As per the official data, no new train was introduced in the financial year 2020-21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This brought about 144 new train services in 2019-20, 266 services in 2018-2019, 170 services in 2017-2018 and 223 services in 2016-2017. Whereas 144 new train services were introduced in 2019-20, 266 services in 2018-2019, 170 services in 2017-2018 and 223 services in 2016-2017.