Ticketless travel in Railways zooms 79% in 9 months of 2021-22

Data on ticketless travel reveals that 1.78 cr passengers travelled without proper railway tickets during 9 months of 2021-22 fiscal

Ticketless travel isn’t a thing of the past. Though systems aimed at putting a stop on ticketless travel have been getting stronger, the number of people making use of the railways without buying tickets to their destinations have stayed high.

During the first nine months of 2021-22, ticketless travel rose exponentially by 79 percent, compared with the figures of 2019-20. The difference between the periods is that the latest figures are of the Covid-hit situation while the former was the non-Covid-hit fiscal.

As per figures available, the Indian Railways have caught more than 1.78 crore ticketless passengers and those with un-booked luggage during the first nine months of fiscal 2021-22. It needs to be noted that there have been strict restrictions in place during the fiscal of 2020-21 owing to the Covid impact.

Ticketless travel data out following RTI query

The figures have come to light following the data made available following an RTI query filed by Madhya Pradesh-based activist Chandra Shekhar Gaur. As per the data revealed, more than 1.78 crore passengers had travelled without proper tickets and un-booked luggage during April-December 2021. Penalties were imposed on these ticketless travellers, and an amount of Rs 1,017.48 crore was realised from them.

During the 2019-2020 fiscal, the year which saw the impact of the pandemic, as many as 1.10 crore people were caught travelling ticketless and a total fine of Rs 561.73 crore was imposed on them. Also, during the period between April 2020 and March 2021, as many as 27.57 lakh people were caught travelling ticketless and Rs 143.82 crore fine was levied.

The reason attributed to the anomaly is that many express and superfast trains still offer online booking and limited services even after Covid 19 restrictions were lifted.  There have also been complaints from the part of the passengers that they had experienced a demand-supply mismatch in terms of train services.

Number of trains and services not increased

The current fiscal had seen very peculiar circumstances such that more than 52 lakh people who were on the waitlist after finalisation of seat reservation charts were not able to travel during the first six months of the current fiscal. This had given shape to a situation where more trains services were to be deployed on busy routes, said a report.

It also needs to be noted that even after restrictions on travel were brought in over the past couple of years, people have begun travelling more. However, the number of trains and their services have not been increased even after the number of travellers has increased.

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