Commuters at Andheri station bear the brunt of non-functional coupon-validating machines on the East, as they are caught and fined when they try to go to the ones on the West
Ticket checkers at Andheri station have been a busy lot of late. This is not due to any sudden increase of people trying to avoid paying for a ride, but because of non-functional coupon-validating machines in the East.
Commuters entering Andheri station via the railway bridge in Andheri (East), adjacent to police station, are being fined for ticketless travelling.
For no fault of hers: Nisha Chhada, who is from Delhi, was a victim of
CVMs that don't function at Andheri station. Pic/Mahesh Chafe
With the construction of new and larger ticket complex, the old one at this entrance was shut down some 10 months ago. However, the two non-functional coupon validating machines (CVM) are yet to be removed, giving an impression that the ticket window is still operational. Besides, there is a dearth of proper signboards informing commuters, especially first-timers, of the new ticketing complex. The only thing the officials have managed to do, is install an almost invisible signboard on the adjoining rail bridge.
This lackadaisical approach exhibited by the authorities has led to utter confusion among travellers. With CVMs still installed at the now defunct ticketing window, it attracts commuters who want to get the coupons punched. However, once they realise that the CVMs are dead, they instinctively start walking towards the west side via the nearby railway bridge, leading them to platform no 1. However, the passengers are in for a rude shock once they reach the platform, as the TCs stationed here fine them for ticketless travelling. Nishant Mody, one of the many, who was fined earlier in the month, said, "The railway authorities need to put up visible signboards, informing travellers, especially the new ones about the new ticketing complex. Most of them assume that since they have coupons, they are bonafide travellers and can go to the west side to get the coupons punched. It's here when the TCs catch the innocent passengers and fine them."
Nisha Chhada, a Delhiite, who is on a business trip to Mumbai, was fined for ticketless travelling. "It's horrible here. There are no proper signboards installed to direct new passengers. There is a difference between first-time commuters and the deliberate ticketless travellers."
Sunil Denty, one of the TCs posted at platform no 1, said, "The passengers who don't have a proper ticket should take the BMC east-west bridge, as it doesn't fall under railway's jurisdiction." However, realising that he had been insensitive towards commuters' plight, Denty quickly went into damage control mode and started sympathising with them.
Replying to the query about the lack of installation of appropriate signboards and fining the travellers, Omkar Singh, commercial inspector at Andheri station, said, "We had put up signboards in January to inform travellers about when the new ticketing complex. However, miscreants removed them. Besides, TCs are doing their job of fining ticketless people. It's not their fault. It is the nature of their job."
Western Railway PRO, C David, said, "Since the new ticketing complex was started 10 months ago, we had installed visible signboards then then." Asked about the helplessness of first-time travellers, who unknowingly take the bridge to get the coupons punched, David refused to comment, but stated that those without proper tickets must use the public bridge.
Is what the hapless passengers are fined, when caught