While the railways has made it mandatory for all sleeper class passengers to carry identity proof along with the ticket, several passengers are still travelling without an ID card.
The new rule came into effect on December 1 across the country. However, several passengers boarding trains from New Delhi station either feigned ignorance about it or cited technical reasons for not carrying identity proof.
“We didn’t know that it has become mandatory to carry ID proof. I came to Delhi by train yesterday itself. The ticket collector did not ask for the ID. As per my information, it is mandatory only if you are travelling on a tatkal ticket,” said a passenger travelling in coach S5 of Poorva Express.
Aimed at checking touts and travel agents from booking tickets on fictitious names, the railways has made it mandatory for all passengers travelling in reserved coaches to carry a photo ID. Any passenger travelling without ID proof will be considered travelling without ticket.
While the rule was already applicable for air-conditioned class tickets, tatkal ticket holders and those carrying e-tickets, it was extended to sleeper class on December 1.
There have been regular complaints of touts and agents booking sleeper class tickets in bulk in fictitious names, and selling them at a premium later as bulk purchase creates artificial scarcity.
While some passengers said they did not know about the new rule, others said though they are carrying an ID proof, they didn’t know about the new rule coming into effect.
“I anyway carry my driving licence or voter card while travelling. However, I didn’t know about the new rule. I think the railway needs to advertise about it more,” said a passenger before boarding Poorva Express for Varanasi.
While passengers continue to travel without ID proof, the railways don’t seem to have started penalising such passengers.
While Northern Railway officials said they have instructed ticket collectors to fine any passenger found travelling without ID proof, the officials failed to provide any data about the number of passengers booked for the offence across the zone during the first three days since the rule came into effect.
“The rule has been brought into force and ticket collectors have been instructed to act against defaulters,” said Northern Railway spokesperson Neeraj Sharma.
However, a travel ticket examiner at New Delhi station said there are practical problems in implementing the rule straightaway.
“First of all, passengers start pleading not to fine them saying they were not aware about the new rule. Some passengers argued that they had booked their tickets months back, so they had no idea of the new rule. Currently, we are being a bit lenient on that front,” said a TTE, requesting anonymity.
However, officials of the vigilance department of railways said they will soon conduct raids on trains, and the onus of not booking passengers without IDs will be on the TTEs.