With the rising mercury, the number of ticketless travellers in AC locals also shot up by 25 percent in the month of May as compared to April. As many as 11,711 passengers were caught travelling without tickets on the AC locals of the Central and Western Railways between January to May.
In April, 3,575 travellers were caught without tickets on the AC locals and a fine of Rs 13,71,379 was realised from them. Of these 1,745 passengers were caught on WR.
While in May it increased by 25 percent and the total number of ticketless travellers on WR went up to 2400.
According to a senior rail official, the sudden spike in the recovery is attributed to sustained special drives conducted across the suburban section. "We deployed more staff at all the entry and exit points of the stations and were also focused on conducting more surprise checks," the official said, adding that ticket checkers (TCs) are being deployed in AC locals as well.
However, passengers think that the unavailability of TCs in each and every coach is also one of the reasons which is exploited by ticketless travellers.
After the decision of reducing AC locals fares, the rush has increased by multiple folds. Many times TCs aren’t available in trains to check the tickets, which is another reason for the rising number of ticketless travellers.
Loyal commuters are forced to travel in crowded AC locals even after paying a high price for the ticket. Sufficient ticket checking should be present to prevent unauthorised commuters in AC locals," said Mumbai Rail Pravasi Sangh General Secretary Siddhesh Desai.
Narrating her experience about the issue, Mumbra resident Zainab Huzefa Kaka said, "I have been a regular commuter of AC Local since August, 2021. There are no sufficient TCs in the train hence many commuters travel without valid AC local tickets. The CR should deploy more TCs to keep a check on the ticketless commuters in the AC local."
Shailesh Goyal, a WR commuter and Bhayandar resident, said, "During rush hours, AC locals are fully packed. In such a condition, checking each and every passenger is not a easy job. Many unauthorised travellers take advantage of the rush."