While having dinner my father told us about a couple who was travelling in the first class compartment of a Churchgate bound local train. When the TC came & asked them to show their tickets the girl produced her pass. However the guy told the TC that he was a sportsman & hence did not have any ticket/ pass with him. When the TC asked him to produce a suitable identification for the same he said he did not have it with him.
While the Railways have proposed a whopping 14% hike in the fares there will always be such shameless losers who travel free. Instead of increasing the fares the railway could make good use of these thieves.
Firstly the railway should increase the fine levied for ticketless travelling. A person found without a ticket must pay a fine 10 times the actual ticket cost. So if you do not buy a ticket worth Rs. 100, you get a fine of Rs 1000. And any smartass who denies paying a fine should be thrown in jail (the duration of imprisonment being equal to the ticket fare. Rs. 100 ticket = 100 days in jail!)
Look at the crowd in the above picture. This is how crowded the trains are during office hours. And at least a quarter of these people are without a ticket. Catching them & fining them would be an excellent way for the railways to earn money. Also, the increased fines might just make these free loaders start buying a ticket in the first place. As a bonus the poor hard working TC should also be given an incentive for catching these people, an act which will ensure active participation of the TCs too. Even if half of these wilful defaulters are caught & heavily fined I am sure Indian Railways will make a never before achieved profit figure. 😛
While we were on the subject of defaulters my mother told us about a lady she knew many years back. The said lady was an RBI officer. She never bothered buying a ticket. Reason? The TC comes once in a blue moon. Paying a Rs. 100 fine is cheaper than buying a Rs. 500 ticket. An RBI officer who shamelessly used the railway service for more than three decades but must have paid little more than a 1000 bucks if at all.