MUMBAI: There has been a major jump in unauthorized travellers in suburban local trains, as around 1,500 people are caught daily by Central Railway ticket examiners since January 1.
Even though suburban services resumed from June 15, common citizens are still not permitted to travel. Services are only for essential service workers as categorized by state government.
A senior CR official said, “Between June and December 2020, 70,000 commuters were caught ticketless or for unauthorized travel. This helped us mop up nearly Rs 1.7 crore in earnings from unauthorized passengers. But offenders are gradually increasing, which indicates that people are willing to take a risk of being fined to travel in local trains as their livelihood is at stake.”
In December 2020, there were 29,585 cases of unauthorized travel, which comes to around 950 offenders a day. The figure for November was 23,088 or 770 offender per day.
The official said that offenders almost doubled in January 2021, compared to November 2020.
CR has also undertaken fortress-checks at CSMT and Ghatkopar, deploying TTE, staff from commercial department and Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel to catch offenders
On Tuesday, between 7am and 3pm, CR caught 382 people and collected Rs91,000 in fines. . On Wednesday, fortress checks at Ghatkopar between 7am and 3pm led to 216 cases and fines of Rs50,000. The official said on Tuesday they detected 2,039 cases across the suburban network.
CR’s chief public relations officer Shivaji Sutar said, “We have intensified the drive as the crowd is increasing at stations. Such action will act as a deterrent against over-crowding in trains and at platforms.”
Zonal Railway Users’ Consultative Committee member Kailash Verma said, “Local trains are not available for the common man for nine months. Commuters will be forced to agitate if restrictions on travel are not lifted as jobs are at stake.”