Mumbai: Double check your ticket or pass before boarding the air conditioned local trains of Central Railways Mumbai division. The Central Railway has launched a special drive from May 19 to May 31, 2023, to address the issue of unauthorized travel in AC local trains. The initiative aims to tackle frequent complaints from passengers and improve the overall travel experience for legitimate commuters.
16 staff members deployed for ticket check in over 40 local trains
"During the drive, a total of 45 services per day, spanning from 7:43 am to 11:28 pm, are being closely monitored. In collaboration with the Railway Protection Force (RPF), 16 staff members have been deployed to ensure effective enforcement measures," said an official of CR.
Currently, a total of 56 air-conditioned local services are being run by CR on week days. The daily average number of passengers is around 50,000.
"Since its commencement, the drive has witnessed a significant increase in the number of cases detected. On May 19, 257 individuals were charged with unauthorised travel, followed by 245 individuals on May 20, and 296 individuals on May 21. Similarly, 272 cases of travelling without proper ticket were detected on May 23.
Mixed response to the initiative for the special drive
The initiative has garnered mixed responses from the public on social media. While some commuters appreciate the intensified efforts, others have raised concerns about the necessity of similar drives in other sections of the train, such as first-class and divyang (disabled) coaches. Suggestions have also been made to extend the drive to address various forms of unauthorised travel.
Responding to commuters' requests for service improvements, a commuter Rajan Iyer suggested increasing the number of AC trains from Thane, allowing more access to passengers. Another regular, Raj Moily proposed conducting similar drives on first-class and divyang coaches to ensure a fair and equitable travel environment for all.
Commuters express concerns over crowded trains during peak hours
Other commuters expressed concerns about overcrowded second-class coaches during peak hours at stations like Dadar, Kurla, Ghatkopar, and Thane. They urged railway authorities to prioritize addressing these issues as well.
Furthermore, passengers expressed dissatisfaction with the frequent conversion of AC coaches into non-AC coaches, which has become a regular occurrence. They requested the railway administration to explore alternatives such as refunding the fare difference or providing suitable compensation to affected passengers.
The Central Railway appeals to the general public to travel with proper and valid tickets. "We are considering the suggestions and feedback received from the public to improve the efficacy of the initiative and address the concerns raised," said a senior officer of CR adding that the special drive will continue until May 31, 2023, with the aim of curbing unauthorised travel in AC local trains and ensuring a more pleasant commuting experience for legitimate passengers.