When Ticket Collectors (TCs) pull up railway commuters who break the rules and travel ticketless, the least they can do is to follow the rules themselves. And yet, a front-page report on this paper highlighted how many of them neglect to wear their badges and refuse to show their IDs when a passenger does ask to see it.
What's more, a member of a railway commuters' committee discovered that often, off-duty TCs helped their on-duty friends - without authorisation - to collect fines and meet their targets. Caught in their lies, these TCs then got into an argument with the commuter, resulting in him filing a complaint to the Western Railway authorities.
One does agree that this is a two-way street. Too often, commuters do not show respect for TCs either, arguing with them and trying to hoodwink them with different excuses as to why they do not have a ticket. However, the rules also state that all TCs must bear clear ID.
The commuter should not have to ask the TC to show his or her identification. The TC must display it prominently on his or her uniform. One cannot blame the commuter for arguing if the ID is not displayed. There is always the very real danger of some bogus person masquerading as a TC, or even a group of impersonators posing as TCs, trying to get money out of people. This is certainly not to condone ticketless travel, but wearing an ID should be made non-negotiable for TCs.
One also cannot understand why TCs are on the field, collecting fines when they are off the clock. We certainly need more clarity and better communication at our railway stations, not just regarding our TCs, but also in the railway announcements, displays and other aspects. Let all rungs of the Railway administration work towards that.
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