Rising Tide of Fare Evasion: A Close Look at Increased Ticket Inspections on Sri Lanka’s Railways
Reviving Ticket Inspections Amid a Pandemic
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, many sectors have been forced to adapt and alter their conventional ways of operation. Among these, the railway department has not been an exemption. With an alarming rise in commuters traveling without tickets, the Department of Railways in Sri Lanka has announced a surge in ticket inspections, particularly at Maradana and Colombo Fort railway stations.
Historically, inspections have been a crucial part of the railway department’s operations. However, during the Covid-19 pandemic, these inspections experienced a temporary halt. The cessation of inspections resulted in an uptick in the number of commuters traveling sans tickets, leading to financial losses and operational challenges.
A Significant Step: Increasing Inspections
In a bid to counter the increasing instances of fare evasion, the Department of Railways has taken decisive steps. As part of this initiative, main railway stations, including Maradana and Colombo Fort, will see an increase in ticket inspections. This move is aimed at detecting commuters who travel by train without purchasing tickets, thereby ensuring that the department’s revenue does not suffer due to fare evasion.
Fines and Penalties: An Effective Deterrent?
With the resumption of inspections in August, the Department of Railways has reported collecting nearly Rs. 225,000 in fines from 72 passengers at Maradana Railway Station who traveled without tickets. These fines have been collected as part of the department’s efforts to discourage fare evasion and ensure compliance with ticketing rules. Despite the imposition of fines and penalties, the question remains whether this method is effective in curbing the trend of fare evasion.
The Impact of Digital Age: Advanced Ticketing Solutions
As technology advances, railway departments worldwide are exploring more efficient ticketing solutions. In many countries, barriers and stiles with ticket scanners have been implemented to check tickets before entry. Sometimes, there are agents with scanners at the entrance to the platform, providing another layer of inspection. These technological solutions can help deter fare evasion and ensure that all passengers have valid tickets before boarding the train.
Looking Ahead: The Future of Ticket Inspections
In the future, railway departments may need to examine more comprehensive solutions to tackle fare evasion. Alongside increased inspections and fines, other solutions could include making ticket purchase more accessible and convenient, improving the efficiency of ticket inspections, and implementing advanced technological solutions.
In conclusion, while the increased ticket inspections at Maradana and Colombo Fort railway stations are a step in the right direction, they are just one part of the solution. A multi-pronged approach that includes technological advancement, efficient ticketing systems, and robust inspection procedures will be necessary to effectively curb fare evasion in the long run.
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