GANAPATHI BHAT, Akola
SOME rail commuters still continue to use bonafide tickets to travel in higher class compartments while commuters, who miss out on their preferred class of travel, buy tickets, get in to other coaches of the train, and wait for the Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE) to sort out things. Not all have a mischievous agenda; it is only that they are ready to pay the difference in amount to the TTE if seats are available due to last-minute cancellations. A few plan their travel in a set way to hoodwink the TTE. Many times, the TTE is nowhere to be seen, and the passengers who are hell-bent to behave like disobedient students, crisscross the bogies to deceive the TTE. However, there are “cunning students” who intentionally do not buy tickets and manage to evade identification. They are famously known as “ticketless travellers”. The Railways has been raking in the moolah with an astounding profit running into crores. Still, the habitual offender has a trick up his/her sleeve to catch the ticket collectors off guard. Search for
ticketless travellers is carried out at the entry points into the platforms, exit points where the passengers leave, sometimes by shutting both entry and exit points to sift the genuine from the ticketless. On the spot checking inside a train through ticket inspectors boarding at intermediate stations has not had much impact because ticketless travellers are more adept than sniffer dogs. Intriguingly, though the number of
ticketless travellers has increased, there has not been a corresponding hike in accrual of revenue for the Indian Railways, said a parliamentary panel findings for the financial year 2016-17. That says a lot, but either the travellers are too smart or the examiners are very slack.