Railway is incurring a huge loss on account of the profusion of ticketless travellers and those possessing irregular tickets as per the surprise ticket checking drives undertaken in the division.
The special drives lasting four to six hours yielded as fare and penalty, more that `one lakh each in Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam Junction stations.
Despite the surge in number of passengers and rising cases of ticketless or irregular travel, the existing vacancies of TTEs has not been filled.
According to railway officials, the division can appoint upto 595 TTEs, but as many as 110 posts are lying vacant.
â€œThe shortage of TTEs is a factor that influences passengers to evade taking tickets.
Filling of these vacant posts at the earliest is the ideal solution. After the surprise ticket checking drive, it has been observed that this tendency has been curbed to a great extend. If the drive is conducted some three or four times a month, the number of ticketless travellers can be brought down considerably,â€ said D Ananthasubramanian, president of Registered Passengerâ€™s Association and member of Divisional Railway Usersâ€™ Consultative Committee (DRUCC).
In the surprise ticket checking drive, some seven per cent of the commercial staff were involved. Many passengers were found to be with irregular tickets – people who take ticket for lower class and travel in higher class – and passengers with expired season tickets. In the coming days, the officials are gearing up to extend and intensify the drive. The posting of TTEs in various information centres is also the reason for the shortage of TTEs in trains. Around 100 TTEs have been deployed in information centres. According to Railway officials measures to fill the vacancies are being taken.
â€œNow 80 people have been selected on compassionate grounds and 12 are undergoing training. In three months time, the vacancies can be filled,â€ a Southern Railway official said.