TCDD ended three regional services this year: Konya-Aksehir, Cerkezkoy-Uzunkopru and Cerkezkoy-Kapikule. Recently, Halkali-Kapikule train started instead, but discussions continue about Aksehir and Uzunkopru trains.
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Indeed, TCDD’s train services making loss are not limited with those trains. Almost all of them are making big losses. Public trains, except suburbans, could only earn 19% their expenses in 2015. In total, TCDD made TL 994 mn (over € 300 mn).
TCDD’s suburban trains with very frequent service and very high occupancy are even making loss. Suburban trains could earn 65% of their expenses in 2015. TCDD wrote a loss of TL 48.8 mn (€ 15 mn).
Konya-Aksehir, Cerkezkoy-Uzunkopru and Cerkezkoy-Kapikule trains are the worst examples among all. These three trains can only earn 2% of their expenses.
Cerkezkoy-Uzunkopru train, having 294 seats and departing once a day in each direction, could run only 4 months. Average ridership during this time was 43 passengers/train.
Konya-Aksehir train almost run without any passenger during 6 months. Service was given by DMU set with 132 seats departing twice a day in each direction. The maximum number was in September with 681 passengers. This means ridership was less than 6 passenger/train (less than 5%). Service made a loss of TL 1.5 mn (€ 500k) during this time.
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Although low occupancy rate is not the only cause, it’s still one of the important ones. Below are the reasons of not being prefered by passengers for these trains:
- Speed: Trains had longer travel time compared with minibuses/buses.
- Fare: Train fares were over minibuses/buses.
- City connections: Minibuses/buses have stops closer to city center, where train stations have poor connections.
- Frequency: Minibuses/buses have higher frequency than trains and arrange timetables according to demand.
- Connected services: Connected train services were very limited (only from Konya Station to Ankara). Minibuses/buses offer more connected bus services via main bus stations.
- Habits: Services did not last long enough to change people’s habits. As stated by Railway Union (BTS), the occupancy rate was increasing every month in Cerkezkoy-Uzunkopru and Cerkezkoy-Kapikule trains (%8-%20-%23 and %28 respectively).
Cover Photo: Onur Uysal ©