TCDD ended three regional services this year, Konya-Aksehir, Cerkezkoy-Uzunkopru and Cerkezkoy-Kapikule due to big loss and insufficient demand.
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.
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:
Trains had longer travel time compared with minibuses/buses.
Train fares were over minibuses/buses.
Minibuses/buses have stops closer to city center, where train stations have poor connections.
Minibuses/buses have higher frequency than trains and arrange timetables according to demand.
Connected train services were very limited (only from Konya Station to Ankara). Minibuses/buses offer more connected bus services via main bus stations.
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 ©