In the four days that followed the government’s initial announcement of a huge hike in suburban train fares, the Central and Western Railways together earned a staggering Rs 70 crore in revenue, selling nearly 2,00,000 annual and half-yearly passes at ‘before price hike’ rates.
The hike was then rolled back. And now, the commuters who rushed to buy long-term passes so that they did not have to shell out twice the amount later, are realising that the pass they hold in their hands, is worth a small fortune, one that they cannot afford to misplace. The reason? Both Central and Western Railway officials have made it clear that no duplicate passes will be issued if a commuter loses his or her pass, as duplicate passes could be misused.
So, all those 95,192 people who purchased annual passes and 99,091 people who bought half-yearly passes now need to ensure that they don’t lose their pass. “We cannot issue a duplicate as it could result in misuse,” said Sharat Chandrayan, chief PRO, Western Railway (WR).
There are around 1.15 lakh people who have purchased yearly and half-yearly season passes from WR between June 21 and 24 alone. WR officials say there is no provision for allowing duplicate copies of season tickets. “Photocopy of a ticket is permitted for long-distance journeys where the berth and coach numbers are allotted to individual passengers. The same, however, is not the case with suburban commuters and so duplicate season passes are not permitted,” said Narendra Patil, chief PRO, Central Railway (CR).
At least two passenger associations say they have already sent letters to railway authorities to give leeway to passengers buying yearly or half-yearly passes.
“We have written to the railways asking them to issue duplicate passes on the basis of a specific pass number. They can ask for a photo identity or an attested copy of the pass as proof,” said Madhu Kotian of Mumbai Rail Pravasi Sangh. However, railway authorities claim such documents, too, are not foolproof, as some people may make copies of the pass and sell it to others.
Sunil Kamat, a student
I bought a second-class pass for R3,562 between Bhayander and Santacruz. I have already laminated the season pass. It is wrong on railway’s part to not allow us to get a duplicate pass. Anyway I will take care of it while travelling
Moti Thawani, Ulhasnagar
I will laminate my railway pass that I bought for Rs 12,065. I need to take care of it and ensure it is not lost.