Airport Metro Express is being run in a commercial manner, not with ‘commuters first’ attitude which the DMRC has — this is what the Delhi Metro chief Mangu Singh had to say about the 22.7-km swanky Metro service running on public-private partnership (PPP) model.
He pointed out several shortcomings of the Airport Metro Express and noted that the business model adopted by the private concessionaire has not worked well due to market slowdown.
He also said that DMRC will never go for a private-public-partnership for any Metro project in future.
“There are many shortcomings and they are not up to our expectations. Actually only government organisations can run passenger railway systems successfully,” Singh said.
He also expressed discontentment over the reduction of the Metro speed from existing 105km to 80km per hour. He said: “There are some technical problems in the track structure.”
Reliance Infrastructure had earlier promised to increase the speed to 120km per hour, but did not get permission from the commissioner of Metro rail safety.
Another reason behind Reliance’s poor performance is its high attrition rate, Singh said. “Almost 60 to 70% of the people who were part of the launch team have left the organisation,” he added.
A spokesperson of Reliance Infrastructure, said: “Reliance Metro is a professionally run project and is at par with international standards in terms of passenger convenience and latest technology. Being the first high-speed Metro, checks and balances have been put in place to prevent any untoward incident. Any issues related to operations are always discussed with DMRC.”
The Metro chief, however, hinted that the company may get to work on the proposed extension of Airport Metro Express to Gurgaon.
“We do not have many options as it would be the extension of the existing line. We will work out a model where we are able to go for an open tender,” Singh said.
Meanwhile, he also told Reliance Infrastructure that it had already paid a huge penalty (liquidity damage) of Rs 43.375 crore for failing to make the service operational on scheduled time and is yet to pay it the remaining Rs 17 crore.