Bengaluru, May 22 (IANS) The twin inter-city train service within Karnataka, launched with much fanfare from Bengaluru to Belagavi and Mysuru, had poor response from passengers on the first day, an official said on Friday.
"The tri-weekly special train to Belagavi, which has 1,484 seats, left Bengaluru on the first day of its service at 8 a.m. with 176 passengers, picked up 98 at Tumakuru and 64 more at Davangere en-route," Bengaluru railway divisional manager A.K. Verma told IANS here.
Similarly, the other special train to Mysuru, which operates six days a week except on Sunday with 1,415 seats, had only 37 passengers from Bengaluru and 26 more boarded at Kengeri and Mandya en-route.
On the return journey in the afternoon, 59 passengers boarded the train at Mysuru to Bengaluru.
"As the service has been launched at a short notice after the railway board approved it two days ago (May 20), probably the people did not have enough time to plan the travel or book tickets online. We are confident that the service will get good response soon," asserted Verma.
In a sign of normalcy returning soon, the zonal railway resumed the passenger service within Karnataka in response to state Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa's request to enable citizens travel across the state after being stranded for over 58 days due to the extended lockdown.
"For better response to both trains, ticket counters have been reopened at key railway stations from today (Friday) so that passengers who are not digital can book seats for their journey in advance," said Verma.
The tri-weekly superfast from Bengaluru operates on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with halts at 10 stations en-route for passengers to alight or board as per the guidelines.
The return train from Belagavi is on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, with halts at 10 stations en-route for passengers to alight or board.
The trains have 14 chair cars and two luggage-cum-brake vans to carry passengers as per the guidelines to maintain physical distancing.
"The special trains to Belagavi and Mysuru are in addition to Shramik (labour) trains since May 3 for ferrying migrants from within state to other states and a Rajdhani special for the public between New Delhi and Bengaluru," added the official.
The trains will not operate on Sunday due to complete lockdown in the southern state.
Though passenger services across the state and country remained suspended since the lockdown was enforced on March 25 and extended it four times up to May 31 to contain the coronavirus spread, the railways has been operating freight and parcel services since April first week to ensure essential supplies and movement of goods to the people across the country.