The Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL), operator for Metro, told the Bombay high court (HC) on Friday it wants to increase fares for the Ghatkopar-Andheri metro corridor only by Rs5 for each slab and wants to have five slabs instead of the current four.
“We are fighting for survival, but we don’t want to bleed the commuters,” advocate Janak Dwarkadas, who represented the MMOPL, submitted. He said the project is unviable at current fares according to experts and even with enhanced fares, the joint venture must have some other means of revenue in addition to fares.
He was responding to two separate petitions filed by MMRDA and Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam, challenging the fares fixed by the fare fixation committee (FFC) for the Metro-1 corridor.
Dwarkadas submitted although the FFC has permitted the operator to charge fares for Metro-1 corridor in the range of Rs10-Rs110, MMOPL intends to have five slabs — Rs10, Rs20, Rs25, Rs35 and Rs45, instead of the current four of Rs10, Rs20, Rs30 and Rs40.
“We will have to enhance fares. We too don’t want to drive away commuters by proposing unreasonable hike in fares,” said Dwarkadas, adding, “We will also have to take into account the paying capacity of the commuter.”
The senior advocate responded to MMRDA’s contention that the concession agreement provided for a certain fare structure and the FFC should not have ignored the agreement, which allows mid-term fare fixation under certain circumstances.
The MMRDA has reduced the viability gap funding from Rs1,251 crore to Rs650 crore, apart from escalation in the estimated cost of the project. “Every single parameter of cost estimate has undergone a huge change and the estimated cost of the project has gone up from initial estimate of Rs2,563 crore to over Rs4,000 crore,” he said.