With a limited section of commuters allowed on suburban local trains, the number of ticketless, unauthorised passengers has gone up significantly. The Railways has increased surveillance to book and has found a sharp rise in ticketless commuters compared to pre-Covid times.
Central Railways has booked 77,500 unauthorised commuters attempting to travel by local trains between July 2020 and January 5, 2021. The daily number of ticketless commuters booked was 1,000 against around 4.5 million commuters before the Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020. It has increased to 1,500 unauthorised commuters booked daily when the number of commuters is restricted to 800,000 daily.
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A fine of Rs1.67 crore has been recovered from ticketless travellers between July 2020 and January 5, 2021.
Suspended in the third week of March after the lockdown was announced, train services resumed from July 15 for those working in essential services, the specially abled and cancer patients. Women commuters and lawyers were also allowed to commute during a stipulated time. However, the number of unauthorised commuters is still huge and according to the Railways authorities ,it ranges between 30-40% of the total commuters now. The zonal railways has increased checking of passengers and is conducting surprise ticket inspections in different locations at railway stations and in local train compartments.
In January, the Central Railways has booked 1,500 cases of ticketless commute every day. On Tuesday, 2,039 cases were registered.
“There has been an increase in unauthorised commuting from November. People, after being denied tickets at the booking office as they are not permitted by the state government to travel by local trains, were found boarding trains and travelling without tickets. Inspections have increased throughout all suburban railway stations.” said a senior Central Railways official.
The Central Railways currently operates 1,580 local trains daily on its main, harbour and trans-harbour lines.
The Western Railways operates 1,201 local trains. During normal operations, Central Railways runs 1,774 services, while Western Railways operates 1,367.
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