As many as 8,577 people were caught travelling in trains without ticket on Central and Western lines during the lockdown (June to September 16), according to the data provided by the railways. They were caught by the ticket checking staff at various railway stations and inside trains. The cases related to both local and long- distance trains, with most of them being sub-urban trains passengers.

As per Western Railway statistics, 72 cases of ticketless travelling were registered in June. That number went up to 227 in July. In August, 1,262 people were caught without tickets, and the first 15 days of this month, the number has already touched 1,219.

They were caught during checking inside trains and at railway stations, the railway officials said. According to the railway staff, a large number of such ticketless travelles were intercepted while travelling as early as 5 am to avoid being caught at many stations, including Vasai, Virar and Nallasopara.

“We urge people to travel after buying authorised tickets. We have been carrying out intensive checks at various railway stations,” said Sumit Thakur, chief PRO, Western Railway.

The situation on the Central Railway is worse. According to CR officials, they have registered 5,797 cases where people have been caught for ticketless travel.Of these, 195 cases were detected in June, 482 cases in July and 2,244 cases in August. This month, 2,876 cases of ticketless travel inside suburban and long-distance trains have been registered. Most of these cases come from stations like Kalyan, Thane, stretches on Kalyan-Karjat and Kalyan-Kasara where trains halt at selected stations.

“There is a need for state government to strengthen the QR code system here. There have been cases of people entering the stations on fake IDs and QR code. There are cases where these passengers don’t even buy tickets after showing valid ID proofs and simply travel,” said a Central Railway official.

Sources said that with more categories of people being added to the list of essential services, many commuters not only travel without a ticket but also produce fake QR codes or ID proofs.

On Friday, the railway staff carried out an intensive checking at various stations.

According to railway officials, they came across many people were not aware that buying tickets was essential for travel even during lockdown. They thought ID proof was enough, the officials said.

Some people were found travelling using QR codes of other passengers. In fact, senior railway officials said that they are investigating cases wherein people pay Rs 2,000-2,500 for getting a QR Code card though they are ideally not supposed to travel in local trains.

“People simply don’t buy tickets ,and we had to levy a fine. There are some who wear ID cards of government agencies but looking at it doesn’t seem genuine. There are several cases of ticketless travelling that are coming up which is increasing day by day,” said an official from Western Railway. Officially, there are 3.25 lakh people who have been allowed by the state government to travel using a QR code.

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