The Southern Railways has collected over Rs 9 lakh as fine from ticketless travellers on January 14.
More than 2,000 people were penalised for travelling in trains without valid tickets on January 14, a day before Pongal, according to news reports. The Railways also collected Rs 8.89 lakh in fines from the 2329 persons who were caught for travelling without tickets during inspections.
In May 2019, over 27,000 persons were booked for travelling without tickets in trains. In October, this number increased to over 40,000 and in December, over 38,000 persons were booked for ticketless travel in trains.
The highest number of penalties came from ticketless travellers in suburban trains in Chennai and persons with unreserved tickets travelling in reserved compartments in long-distance trains.
The number of ticketless travellers on Indian Railways has increased by 60% in the last five years, as per a report. While the number of passengers travelling without tickets was 1.87 crore in 2014-15, this number jumped up to 2.76 crore in 2018-19.
On any given day, at least 75,000 people travel without proper tickets in trains across India. In 2018-19 alone, the Railways recovered Rs 1822.62 crore as penalty from ticketless travellers across the country. In order to instill fear in the minds of ticketless travellers, the Southern Railways had implemented stricter ticket checks on suburban railway stations in Chennai in April 2019. Travelling Ticket Examiners (TTE) and Railway Police Force (RPF) were stationed at all the exit points of crucial stations like the Park, Guindy and Tambaram to check tickets of passengers.
It is common for trains in Tamil Nadu to be completely pre-booked during festival seasons since people travel to their hometowns. This time, for Pongal, the Southern Railways had operated special trains to clear the extra rush.