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Delhi Metro fare hike: College students demand discounts to balance their budget

Delhi Metro fares have been hiked twice in 2017. Delhi-NCR students with limited spending money ask why Delhi Metro can’t have a student pass system, as there is for DTC buses.

delhi Updated: Oct 11, 2017 17:41 IST
Henna Rakheja
Henna Rakheja
Hindustan Times
Delhi Metro,Delhi University,Indraprastha College for Women
This rush in Delhi Metro is a common sight. In the absence of proper crowd management and facilities like clean toilets, DU students feel it’s not justified to hike fares twice within a year. (Saumya Khandelwal/HT PHOTO)

How much does it pinch if one has to pay Rs 10 more per ride on Delhi Metro? The fare hike, which came into effect on October 10, 2017, looks moderate at first glance. But for those Delhi college-goers who take the Metro everywhere, this is proving to be a pain.

The students we spoke to ask why the Delhi Metro can’t have student passes, just as DTC (Delhi Transport Corporation) buses have. With the Metro network expanding, students use it far more than buses, and this year, the fares have been hiked twice.

“It used to cost me Rs 40 to travel from South Delhi to the North Campus earlier. After the two price hikes in Delhi Metro this year, I have to spend Rs 100 on my daily travel. If the Metro fare increases every now and then in a year, then why not give student discounts? Earlier, when college-goers used to travel [more] by bus, there used to be a bus pass; so why can’t we have the same for Delhi Metro, considering it’s the preferred mode of transport for most of us now,” says Anisha Joneja, third-year student at Indraprastha College for Women, Delhi University.

Some students say that while a hike of Rs 10 per ride may not be too much, would that lead to better services? Vanika Malhotra, a second-year student of MA in Amity University, Noida, points out the lack of clean toilets at Delhi Metro stations — in fact, few Delhi Metro stations have any toilets, clean or otherwise. “It goes without saying that a price rise affects my travel budget, but if I get better facilities for an increased fare, then I don’t mind paying,” says Vanika, who goes to college from one part of East Delhi. “For instance, even in an emergency, I don’t feel like using Metro station washrooms, because they are so unhygienic!”

‘Why would I want to pay extra if I have to travel in an inconvenient way with such poor crowd management during peak hours?’ — Vanika Malhotra, student, Amity University

She also questions, “Why would I want to pay extra if I have to travel in an inconvenient way with such poor crowd management during peak hours?” The Blue Line of Delhi Metro, which Vanika takes to get to college, happens to be one of the most crowded lines in the Metro network during peak hours.

The Delhi Metro has made it possible for students to cut down on commute time and attend college far away from home. Now that they’re used to this, they can’t go back to sitting on a bus stuck in a jam, spending 90 minutes each way on the commute. Auto-rickshaws and taxis are too expensive. So they feel the Delhi Metro fare hikes need more scrutiny.

Samedha Arora, a student of Kalindi College, says, “We often complain about hikes in prices of petrol and diesel, but it’s high time that we started debating over Delhi Metro fare hikes, especially when it’s an important mode of commute for Delhiites. Most DU (Delhi University) colleges are linked via Metro — we can’t not take this mode of transport. Now with the rise in fare per trip, I think I’ll have to use up the pocket money that I save for canteen, because I can’t afford to travel by cab or auto every day!”

‘When the government says that it’s trying to give us world-class services, it must also keep in mind that many countries allow discounted rates of Metro travel for students’ — Rustam Mazumdar, student, Delhi College of Arts & Commerce

Rustam Mazumdar, third-year student of Delhi College of Arts & Commerce, compares Delhi Metro with other mass rapid transit systems in the world, and says, “When the government says that it’s trying to give us world-class services, it must also keep in mind that many countries allow discounted rates of Metro travel for students. Why is it that Delhi Metro doesn’t?”

Responding to our query, Anuj Dayal, executive director, corporate communication of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) says, “As per the provision of Delhi Metro Rail (Operation & Maintenance) Act, 2002, the Metro fares are fixed and revised by a regulatory authority (fare fixation committee) constituted by the Government of India. Under Section 37 of the Act, the recommendations of the FFC are binding on the Metro Rail authority. DMRC does not have any power in this regard.”

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First Published: Oct 11, 2017 17:41 IST