Recurring Decimals…..

Everything here is irrelevant

Traveling Ticketless…

with 3 comments

Via Marginal Revolution, this anecdote about ‘ticket insurance’ in Mumbai:

“My favourite ticketing system was in Mumbai, India,” Kim enthuses. “No one actually buys a ticket, but you can buy ‘ticket insurance’ from private entrepreneurs who work at the entrance of the station. The ‘ticket insurance’ is about half the price of a regular rail ticket. It gives you a guarantee that, in the extraordinary event that you are booked by a railways inspector for taking a free ride, your fine will be paid. A relative was once booked and the ticket insurer paid the fine exactly as promised.”

While commenter’s over there are arguing over merits of insurance in such cases etc, I ask – why would you even need an insurance ? Back in the college days in Kharagpur, lots of students commuted regularly on the weekends to Kolkata – a three hour journey on the ‘local train’ that cost about Rs20 (50 US cents). A significant majority would travel ticketless. The fine you had to pay when caught was Rs70 (Rs 50 fine + Rs 20 for the fare) – most figured that you got caught less than 10% of the time, so in the long run you saved lots of money by paying off the occasional fine. So there you go.

For the record, yours truly always traveled with a ticket – for some reason, I was too much of an idealist in those days.

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

August 2, 2007 at 12:23 am

Posted in Economics, India, Life

3 Responses

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  1. “for some reason, I was too much of an idealist in those days.” And now you are just an cynical and cranky old man (what with questioning Sreesanth’s faith and all!):)


    August 2, 2007 at 4:54 am

  2. @cc: I like to think am still young at heart – but cynical and cranky, we agree with 🙂


    August 3, 2007 at 2:32 am

  3. Hi,
    It is grave reality of India. But, now I think the fine amount had been increased considerably.
    Thanks for d post.


    August 12, 2007 at 7:42 pm

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