The recent fare hike seems to have adversely affected Mumbai Metro, which has witnessed a 15-20% drop in the number of commuters in the past ten days.
Initially, the fare charged by the operator — Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL) — was between Rs10 and Rs20. However, after the recent Bombay high court ruling, the fares were revised in the range of Rs10-40 from January 9. According to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the Metro service had a ridership of about 2.8lakh to over 3lakh on weekdays before January 9. However, in the past ten days, the numbers have dropped to 2.4lakh to 2.6lakh. The ridership slumped to 2.27lakh on January 10.
MMRDA commissioner UPS Madan said, “The number of commuters dropped by 15-20% after the new fare structure came into effect.”
Although the ridership has dwindled, the MMOPL is earning more revenue. Earlier, the MMOPL could earn up to Rs60 lakh a day, but the revenue generation has crossed over Rs80 lakh a day after the fare hike.
Denying such a trend, MMOPL spokesperson said, “A fare hike across the world leads to reduction in ridership, but it stabilises in some. The current ridership figures are initial and it cannot be considered a trend.”
“The numbers show many commuters have resorted to old modes of transport as the Metro is not affordable, at least for short distances,” said an MMRDA official.
The Rs2,356-crore Metro project, which has been developed on a public private partnership (PPP) mode, has received Rs783 crore through the viability gap funding (VGF) to keep the fares affordable.
Transport expert Jitendra Gupta said, “The development shows the purpose of VGF and the concept of mass transit mode has been dissolved. The higher fares have driven the poor away from the Metro.”