The next time a tram conductor offers you a Rs-8 CTC bus ticket and a 50 paise coupon, instead of a fresh tram ticket, don’t be taken aback. The Calcutta Tramways Company (CTC) has hit upon this novel method to check free-trippers, who have drained its coffers of several lakhs.
Over the past few days, the CTC has allowed passengers free rides simply because it failed to print fresh tickets after the tram fare hike was rolled back.
The new fares were announced in the third week of May. The tickets, priced at Rs 2.50, Rs 3 and Rs 3.50, were scaled down to Rs 2.25, Rs 2.75 and Rs 3.25. As the CTC failed to issue tickets before June 7, the day the rollback was effected, free-trippers made good use of the opportunity on the city’s busiest tram routes.
But a review of the situation, which revealed that the CTC had incurred losses to the tune of nearly Rs 15 lakh in these few days, has prompted the management to sit up and take notice.
And till fresh tickets reach the conductors, the tram company has resolved to charge new fares from passengers by offering them CTC bus tickets. Such a move has never been practised in trams, and, hence, there is less room for confusion, said senior CTC officials.
The decision was taken at a marathon meeting between the CTC and the Calcutta Tramways Workers’ and Employees’ Union (CTWEU) on Thursday.
According to the new method, the old Rs 3.50 tickets will be given to passengers going for the Rs-3.25-fare distance and Rs-8 CTC bus tickets to those for the Rs-2.25-fare stretch. In addition, the management has also printed several 50-paise coupons, which will be distributed to passengers travelling on the Rs-2.75-fare distance.
“We expect to get the fresh tickets by Friday night. So, until then, we have opted to use CTC bus tickets and old tickets to at least ensure that the revenue keeps flowing in. This will also minimise confusion,” said workers’ union general secretary Prolay Dasgupta.
He expects fresh tickets for the new fares to reach tram conductors on Saturday morning. “Until that happens, we will stick to this novel method,” Dasgupta asserted.
Of a fleet of 320, 150 trams ply daily, accounting for over 700 trips throughout the day.