‘Shakthi’ free bus travel for women scheme: KSRTC faces pilferage with ‘zero value tickets’
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‘Shakthi’ free bus travel for women scheme: KSRTC faces pilferage with ‘zero value tickets’

January 11, 2024

Tickets meant for women issued to male passengers also; checking to be intensified

Mysore/Mysuru: Many women passengers express satisfaction with the Congress Government’s flagship ‘Shakthi’ scheme, offering free bus travel to women domiciled in Karnataka on non-luxury buses operated by the State-run Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC).

However, one of the flipsides of the women-only scheme is bus conductors issuing ‘zero value tickets’ to male passengers also, pocketing that money handed over by passengers, causing revenue loss to the Government. To check the pilferage, the KSRTC has intensified ticket checking and penalising the conductors. It is also planning to create awareness among passengers to check the tickets issued by the conductors during their journey.

“KSRTC has identified instances where conductors are issuing ‘zero value tickets’ — meant for women enjoying free trips — to male passengers, particularly during crowded bus conditions. This situation enables conductors to generate additional income (causing loss to Government) as male passengers often forego checking their tickets and promptly stow them away in their pockets,” Mysuru KSRTC Divisional Controller G. Srinivas told Star of Mysore.

The trend in short-distance trips

“We have found this trend in short-distance trips when generally, the ticket-checking team does not arrive. The KSRTC has levied penalties from such erring conductors that range from Rs. 500 to Rs. 3,000 and if they repeat the offence, the action will lead to suspension,” he said.

“There are 3,000 routes in the Mysuru Division covered by buses and per day, only five to 10 percent of the buses can be checked for ticket violations. Each team, comprising one ticket-checking inspector and one assistant, can check over 15 to 20 buses per day. We are unable to cover all the routes and some conductors take advantage of this. Every day on each route that has been checked, violations are found and disciplinary action is being taken,” Srinivas said.

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If a passenger hands over the money and a proper ticket is not issued, then it is the fault of the conductor. “In such cases, we take an undertaking in writing from the passenger in question and penalise the conductor. In case the passenger does not pay the ticket money, both the passenger and the conductor have to pay the prescribed penalty,” the Divisional Controller explained.  

There have been instances where ‘zero value tickets’ are issued though there are no women passengers in a bus. This is done for the conductors to meet their daily passenger onboarding target.

Apart from intensifying ticket checking, the KSRTC Mysuru Division is planning to create awareness among passengers to check their tickets after being issued by the conductor. “Stickers will be pasted at vantage points of the bus urging the passengers to verify the veracity of their tickets. If passengers insist on correct tickets for the money they have paid, this pilferage can be stopped,” Srinivas added.  

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