Close to 1.9 crore railway passengers were found to be travelling without a proper ticket in 2015-16. Most such passengers were caught in the Northern & South Central zones though these zones do not account for the highest passenger traffic.
Ticket-less travel on Indian Railways if detected results in a penalty. In 2015-16, close to 1.9 crore passengers were detected to be traveling without a ticket or an improper ticket. This figure is less than 0.5% of the total originating passengers in 2015-16. But which zone contributes to most such ticket-less passengers?
Northern & South Central on the top
Of all the zones in the Indian Railways, most number of ticket-less passengers were caught in the Northern zone in each of the last four years. The Northern zone is closely followed by the South Central and the Central zone. In 2015-16, together with western zone, these four zones contributed close to 47% of all such ticket-less passengers who were caught. The total number of ticket-less passengers detected by the Railways has increased from 1.46 crore in 2013-14 to 1.89 crore in 2015-16, an increase of close to 30% in 3 years. In 2016-17, the number of such passengers has already touched 1.85 crore (till Feb 2017). It has to be noted that neither the Northern nor the South Central zone figure in the top four when it comes to total passenger traffic.
More than Rs 800 crore realized in each of the last two years
As per data shared by the government in the Lok Sabha, more than Rs 800 crore was realized in dues from these ticket-less passengers in each of the last two years (2015-16 and 2016-17). The average realization per ticket-less passenger is slightly more than Rs 450. Among the various zones, the highest realization of dues was in the Central zone in each of the last 4 years. In 2015-16, more than Rs 100 crore was realized in dues in each of the three zones of Central, Northern & South Central.
So what is the Railways doing to reduce these numbers?
According to what the government said in the Lok Sabha, 19.7 lakh checks were conducted between April 2016 and February 2017 in all the zones to detect such ticket-less passengers. The government has also approved a proposal for ‘Automated Gate Based Ticket Checking System’ trial in two stations at a cost of Rs 4.16 crore.
As per an answer given to a Lok Sabha question, the Indian Railways is taking the following steps to discourage ticket-less travel.
- Conducting regular and surprise checks against ticket-less travel, which are intensified during peak rush periods.
- Vigorous drives such as Ambush Checks, Fortress Checks are conducted in association with Railway Protection Force and Magistrates under the Action Plan framed by Railway Board.
- Intensive Check Posts have been set up at important stations of each division of Zonal Railways to curb ticket-less traveling in unreserved segments.
- Instructions have been issued for ensuring effective manning of all designated/functional gates at stations.
- Traveling public are urged to avoid ticket-less travel through publicity campaigns launched by Zonal Railways through posters/notices/ announcements at railway stations and advertisements in newspapers.