Wednesday, 18 October 2017

How's This For A Great Piece Of Ingenuity?


There's a Mumbai suburban railway system that carries more than 6 million commuters a day, meaning the task for the authorities to check for tickets is extremely difficult. The system to discourage ticketless travel relies on random ticket checking - but with more than 6 million commuters a day, the chances are that if you travel without a ticket you will escape getting caught more often than not.

However, with everyone aware of this low probability of getting caught, this will likely increase the number of people travelling without a ticket, which then increases the number of people that will get caught in a random check.

So, the story goes, someone in Mumbai came up with a clever money-making insurance idea that seems to benefit all parties involved. It works like this - if you are a daily traveller, then you sign up to become a member of this organisation of local train travellers. You pay 500 rupees (which is about £6) to join this organisation of fellow ticketless travellers. Then, if you do get caught travelling without a ticket, you pay the fine to the authorities and then hand over your receipt to the organisation which refunds you all the money.

It's a neat little idea - however, I cannot help thinking that somewhere in Mumbai there is a ticket-collecting company in the making, to whom the train operators could outsource this work, and both parties could clean up.
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