Diwali truly was a time of prosperity for the Western Railway (WR) this year, as a hefty Rs 4.53 crore poured into their coffers from fine collections during the month of October. The record figure was collected from commuters using suburban local trains between Churchgate and Dahanu stations.
With lakhs of people travelling during Diwali season, many try to save time by boarding without tickets. File pic for representation
Officials said that it is normal for fine collections to rise during Diwali, a period when most commuters are in a rush and end up breaking rules to save time. On October 23 alone, the authorities caught and fined 4,900 offenders. However, this year’s haul is higher than November 2013, the month in which Diwali fell last year.
On the day of Diwali in 2013, the WR registered 3,500-odd cases, and collected R4.01 crore in the entire month. According to the officials, during Diwali season, commuters turn up at stations in huge numbers, leading to longer queues at ticket counters.
More than 75 per cent still buy tickets from windows, while hardly 15-18 per cent use the automatic ticket vending machines (ATVMs), with the remaining using coupon validating machines (CVMs) and other sources. But with lakhs of people travelling, there are serpentine queues at the counters.
So more than a few try to save time by skipping buying tickets, or hop into compartments that have a higher fare, or use the foot overbridges without tickets or passes. “We wanted to plug loss of revenue, and so over the months, we have intensified our checks,” said Sharat Chandrayan, chief public relations officer, WR.