In a period of less than one year, from April 2017 to February 2018, the Indian Railways has earned a ‘bonus’ income of Rs 1,097 crore from penalties imposed on ticketless travellers, with approximately Rs 200 crore being earned per month.
In the April to February period, around 3 crore people were caught travelling without ticket, apart from those travelling with tickets in others names, and adults travelling on half-tickets.
“We are making it more and more difficult to travel ticketless,” Railway Board Member Traffic Mohammad Jamshed said.
“This is a huge amount of money realised from offenders caught through intense checking drives,” he added.
Large numbers of ticket-checking staff along with security forces and CCTV coverage at major stations conducted the drives as well as “ambush checks” and “fortress checks” to catch ticketless travellers.
In comparison, to earn Rs 200 crore a train like the Mumbai Rajdhani would be required to run on full occupancy for all trips for a whole year. The extra earnings of Rs 1,000 crore is typically the amount that the Railways would spend to lay 70 km of new lines.
Since the ‘flexi fares’ concept was introduced 2 years ago, which modulates the price of train fare in a dynamic system based on demand in premium trains, the Railways has earned an extra Rs 600 crore per year. However, after the merger of the Railway Budget with the General Budget, the extra money now goes to the Finance Ministry.