Hyderabad: South Central Railways (SCR) constantly fails to prevent passengers without reservations from travelling in reserved coaches.
A group of travellers called ‘Charminar Rail Mates’ who travel on a regular basis from Chennai to Hyderabad and vice versa have complained to the railway authorities regarding this but in vain.
Passengers complain that although they have booked a sleeper class ticket, they spend most of the journey in utter discomfort as people without tickets travel in reserved coaches and disturb their sleep by boarding the train from intermediary stations in the middle of the night. They are also afraid of the lack of security.
Nagubandi Venkata Ramana of the Charminar Rail Mates group, who has complained to the SCR regarding this issue, said, “A group of more than 100 passengers entered the Charminar Express travelling from Secunderabad to Chennai, on December 22, 2017. The TTE (Travelling Ticket Examiner) did not take any action. I called 182 (the Railways’ toll free number) after the train crossed Vijayawada as the nuisance was unbearable. The Railway Police Force (RPF) staff said this issue pertains to commercial department and asked me to get in touch with the TTE. The TTE had simply informed passengers that I have given the complaint. We had to go through the harassment, unnecessary quarrels and humiliations the whole night.”
Another passenger, M. Keshav Reddy, who travels to Chennai regularly, has a similar complaint. “So many unreserved passengers board the train in the middle of the night and come into the sleeper coach. It becomes really difficult to sleep as they keep talking and stand near the exit doors, which remain open all the night. One of our friends lost his bag. Luckily we were able to trace it. But most of the time we are helpless.”
Asked what is being done about these complaints, South Central Railway officials merely said that they have been taking measures to control unreserved passengers and claimed that TTEs keep checking the coaches.
“But one never knows when an unreserved passenger enters the train from which station, so it becomes really difficult sometimes. But we will try to control this,” an official said. This is not just limited to a few trains.
On the ministry of railways’ twitter handle, one can find thousands of complaints by people regarding menace of ticketless travellers across the country.
Seek help of ‘Train Captains’ for a problem-free journey
Rail passengers can approach ‘train captains’ for on-train service issues. The South Central Railway has nominated the senior-most ticket collector on the train as the train captain, to sort out problems faced by passengers.
The name and contact number of the train captain are made available on the reservation chart pasted at stations. The train captain has to stay in touch with service personnel and check that they are discharging their duties promptly.
The captain gets any complaint from the passengers by contacting the service personnel on board or at the major stations en route. He will also coordinate with the commercial control.
Long-distance express trains have a large team of railway personnel and outsourced staff to handle catering and hygiene onboard apart from those looking after maintenance.
In prestigious trains like the Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto Expresses, the train superintendent is nominated as the “train captain” and will be made responsible for all the facilities on trains.
In trains which do not have an onboard train superintendent, the senior-most ticket checking staff will function as the train captain. The official will wear a special badge for easy identification by the passengers.
“The train captain is provided with mobile numbers of the onboard staff to enable him to contact them whenever required. All onboard staff are instructed to strictly comply with the directions of the train captains, failing which action will be initiated against the erring staff,” an SCR officer said....