In attempt to hike revenue, number of ticket checkers on buses increased from 70 to 200
In an attempt to increase its revenue, the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) has increased its check on ticketless travel.
Last year alone the MTC earned Rs. 82 lakh through fines collected from over 70,000 persons. Taking into consideration the huge loss it has been making due to defaulters, the MTC has decided to enhance ticket checking. For this purpose, the corporation has increased the strength of ticket checkers from 70 to 200.
According to sources, on any given day, the MTC earns around Rs. 50,000 from ticketless travellers. “During festivals it shoots up to Rs. 1 lakh. We collected a fine of Rs. 1.62 lakh this Kaanum Pongal day alone,” said a source from the MTC.
On an average, the MTC earns over two crores with over 55 lakh persons commuting in over 3,600 buses. “Most often, during peak hours, some persons try to travel without buying tickets. This is a huge loss of revenue for us, especially at a juncture when we are ailing monetarily,” said the source.
According to officials, the checking inspectors have been deployed at important bus terminuses including Anna Salai, Mylapore, Mandaveli and Guindy. “The problem is more in north Chennai localities where boys just get in and get down where they please. The problem of footboard travel is also there,” said the source.
However, commuters say that the checking inspectors halt the bus during peak hours. “This causes unnecessary delay for office goers. They can instead get into the bus and check on the move,” said T. Ravikumar, president of the All India Rail and Bus Passengers Association.
Commuters say the checking inspectors should also ensure that the conductor moves to distribute tickets. “In many buses the conductor remains seated and asks us to come and get the ticket. In a crowded bus this is difficult. In such cases the commuter may be innocent,” said J. Prakasam, a frequent commuter on the 5A bus route.
Though transport union members welcomed the move, they said that the government is yet to raise the wages for checking inspectors.
“There are over 1,300 checking inspectors across the state. On January 22, 2011, the then DMK government agreed to increase the wages of the checking inspectors. But neither the previous government nor the present government has done anything about it,” said a union member.