Railways sees bump in fine collections as Fortress Checks yield results

Mumbai: A letter by Railway Board in April last year to all zones to crack the whip on ticketless travel seems to have borne fruit this year.

There are now a slew of checks, and all entrances and exits of a particular station are manned by ticket-checkers and Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel for a stipulated period of time, resulting in a bump in the amount raked in fines imposed during ticket checking in the city, said officials.

Central Railway’s ticket-checkers ended up with a new record after they recovered fines worth Rs100.95 crore from offenders in the last fiscal. This was from 21.31 lakh cases that the checkers came across. The money collected was a 15.7% jump from the Rs87.25 crore collected in fines for the fiscal 2013-14.

WR (Mumbai division), which covers all stations from Churchgate to Surat, had a similar tale to tell. It collected fines worth Rs40.61 crore for the fiscal ending March 31 against Rs36.25 crore collected the year before. The number of cases also rose from 10 lakh to 10.68 lakh, according to the figures made available to dna by the railways.

The fines collected from suburban train travellers on WR stood at Rs12.33 crore, a sizable 11% increase from the Rs11 crore collected between April 2013 and March 2014.

As reported earlier by dna in April last year, then Member (Traffic) DP Pande had written to all general managers to get cracking, asking them to have anything between two to four ‘fortress’ checks a month and getting senior functionaries like divisional railway manager to lead the checks.

The letter came after WR’s suburban system showed a huge drop in terms of passengers between April 2013 and March 2014. During that period, WR had lost an average of 38000 passengers every day.

The railway board at the time had veered to the opinion that since the city’s suburban system didn’t seem to be thinning, it must be the ticketless travel that was causing these slumps in their statistic books.

However, officials across the board agreed that the only way ahead was to get into a situation where people get tickets so easily that travelling without one is not even an option. The usage of Automated Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs) has shown a steady rise on CR with about 21% of all tickets dispensed from ATVMs this year against around 10.74% in 2011-12.

The Jansadharan Ticket Booking Seva, under which one can buy tickets from designated shops by paying Re1 extra, has also become a hit, with its share going up from 0.22% in 2011-12 to about 14.7% this year.

Number of ATVMs at CR: 658 (Ticket share: 21%)
Number of ATVMs at WR: 457 (Ticket share: 10%)

Fines collected in last fiscal on CR: Rs100.95 crore
Fines collected in last fiscal on WR: Rs40.61 crore
CR commuters: 41 lakh
WR commuters: 35 lakh