The Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport (NMMT) has had a windfall in earnings after it changed gears to keep a check on ticketless travel on its buses.
Since June, NMMT has caught 2,292 people for travelling on its buses without tickets. From 382 people caught in June, the number of people pulled up for the offence has risen to 622 in November. The body has earned Rs 2,51,415 in fines from June to November. The increase in the number of people getting caught is owing to the recently introduced jackpot plan.
According to the scheme, the ticket checkers randomly choose an NMMT route and station ticket checkers at every stop on the route. Normally, tickets are checked only at an interval of 2-3 stops. The fine for ticketless travel on a non-AC bus is Rs 100. In an AC bus, it’s Rs 200 and the fare.
Apart from curbing the menace of ticketless travel, the plan also has helped keep a check on drivers and conductors. “The jackpot plan till now has been a huge success. With this, not only do we catch ticketless passengers, who try to escape without paying a fine, but we also keep a tab on the drivers and the conductors. Drivers now make an effort to drive safely and conductors try hard to make sure that there are fewer ticketless passengers in their bus,” said Ghansham Mangle, chief transport manager, Turbhe Bus Depot.
“We cannot say that the plan will help reduce the problem. That is up to the passengers to decide,” Mangle added. In June, five jackpot rounds were conducted in areas like Koparkhairane, Vashi, Dombivli, Kharghar and Nerul.
Passengers however say the drive has encouraged them to buy tickets. “Many people have started buying tickets because of the jackpot plan. Earlier, my friends never used to get a ticket, because they felt it was unnecessary to do so just for two stops. Now, they want to avoid the embarrassment of getting caught when the ticket checkers are on duty,” said Sobin Thomas, a passenger at Sanpada bus stand.
NMMT conducts the drives every 15 days, as per the availability of ticket checking staff. All the checks were done on Vashi-Koparkhairane, Vashi, Dombivli, Kharghar, Nerul, Uran, Thane, Turbhe, Sanpada.