The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), which has been asked by the Supreme Court to explore the option of providing premium seats to the rich who can’t use their luxury cars during the odd-even exercise, has said they will have to make infrastructural changes, which is not ‘impossible’ but ‘very difficult’.
DMRC sources, on the condition of anonymity told HT that from entry gate to the ‘dedicated’ coach, they will have to reserve entire passages for those paying extra. “To include the policy of reserving premium seats, we will have to change the entire entry system of every Metro station. We will have to change the location of AFC gates and make separate gates for those from whom we will charge extra fare. Then we will have to ensure they remain segregated from other passengers,” said a DMRC official.
DMRC said it is very difficult to separate the coaches and make partitions. Making partitions inside coaches is against the evacuation policy of DMRC as it goes through tunnels and emergency gates are at the end of the train. Also there will be resistance from other passengers.
Currently, eight-coach trains are also running to capacity and DMRC can’t have trains of more than 8 coaches. “If we take out coaches from existing infrastructure then we are depriving the common man from space,” he said.
However, DMRC officials are of the view that it is possible through technology. “São Paulo (in Brazil) has this technology where money gets deducted as you enter the coach. Here, a passenger travels a decent distance after paying the money. Instead of creating separate passages for passengers of premium seats, we can have this technology as we cannot move AFC gates to the boarding point,” the official added.
SC had also suggested premium fares for the ‘privileged’ passengers which it said could be five times the actual fare. However, DMRC does have a coach reservation policy where an individual or company can book an entire coach.
“But as per the current policy, the passengers will have to board the train at the terminal station as clearing coach in the middle of a line will not be easy. We can make some changes in the policy but we have to be sure that people will use it. There is no point separating a coach and then running it empty,” the official added.