Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Ticketless Travellers Species
Read this in a popular youth magazine...
Writer : Sreeram Ramachandran

If you are wondering why the Indian Railways runs into such massive losses despite the fact that the number of people travelling by train everyday is roughly five times the population of Australia, it's probably because a majority of these travellers don't bother to buy tickets. Here are a few of the varieties of ticketless travellers you are likely to encounter if you are brave/ foolhardy enough to venture into one of Mumbai's local trains

The Nervous Wreck
Species: Cowardilia
Class: Paranoia
Only an occasional ticketless traveller, he has an inherent fear of TCs (Ticket Checkers) and sneaks around the platform resembling one of Ali Baba's troop of 40 thieves. Would rather be found in the middle of the Kargil war or in a pool of hungry crocodiles than in the front of a TC when without a ticket. Generally coerced into travelling ticketless by mercenary type friends/ peer groups who ridicule him on his 'lack of manliness' for being scared of travelling ticketless.

The Kahani Poori Filmi Hai
Species: Storytellerus
Class: Fake-o-logicus
The most creative kid in the family, he will first attempt to get away by presenting an old ticket/ expired railway pass. When that fails, he will weave a long and painful story about how his father is a clerk in some god-forsaken flea infested bank and how his mom is a housewife with diabetes and no money for medicines. Will attempt to use this story as a basis to get away with a small bribe rather than a full fledged fine. The plot is generally foiled because: a) His expensive cell phone starts ringing somewhere between the part about his father's low salary and the bit about mom's lack of money for medicine, or b) He makes panicky and foolish jumps from Clerk Dad to "Kya tumhe pata hai mera baap kitna bada aadmi hai?" when sob story doesn't work.

The Calculated Risk Taker
Species: Mathematicus Probability Expertia
Class: Pythagorasilia
Travels ticketless on the basis of strong and deeply thought out theories like "If I travel ticketless 10 times, the odds of me getting caught are 1 in 10. Therefore, the money I pay as fine will be compensated by the money I save on tickets the other 9 times." Is likely to try tricks of the Story-tellerus species when caught, but is not too disturbed when the story fails. Is capable of vountarily going to a TC and getting caught the 10th time just to prove his theory right.

The Braveheart
Species: Richus Daddyus
Class: Fearlessia
Is the son of a big rich daddy, and travels in trains with the firm belief that they are his 'baap ka maal' . Is therefore convinced that he is above trivial things like tickets. Has been denied the use of the family car on that particular day owing to some devious plot of destiny, and therefore believes it is his misfortune to travel in public transport with lesser mortals. In a bid to show authority, he will first demand the TC's identity card and interrogate him before paying up the fine.
posted at 8/09/2005 11:40:00 AM | comments (2) | permalink


  1. I've had quite a few near misses and escapes with ticketless travel in trains in India, albeit on long distance trains.

    The classification is interesting read. In my case, it was usually because i was too late to buy a ticket or just for kicks, especially when it came to travelling with friends.

    A friend and I once decided to go to Delhi for a national student body meeting. We got the intimation two days before and landed up at Bbay Central to find out that there were 500 people in line to get into the one general compartment of Paschim Express. Needless to say we jumped the line by boarding from the trackside. Fought and pushed our way to two seats and saw the craziest of fistfights between passengers and touts.

    In all this frenzy we forgot to buy tickets :). We were ready for the consequence. Pay the fine to the TC when he came. But he never did. And so it was free all the way to New Delhi. Of course once there we had to get out from a break in the fence at the end of Platform no. 1 bcos we saw TC's at the main gate !!

    I miss those day !
     — Anonymous arZan, at 8/09/2005 08:58:00 PM 

  2. So it seems you are the mix between 'Risk Taker' and the 'Braveheart'....hahahahah.

    As for me...well i think i have travelled only 3 times by mumbai local trains. First two times....bad experience..both times i was nearly thrown out of the trains by old aunties.

    And the third time i was travelling with Shirin...without ticket..and were caught by the TC. Paid Rs.100/- fine...and were on our way home by CAB.

    Yup...we all miss old times...
     — Blogger Sakshi, at 8/09/2005 11:45:00 PM 

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