Delhi Metro hits back, says report terming it world’s second most unaffordable is ‘misleading’

DMRC managing director Mangu Singh said the study conveniently chose only a few Metro networks to help the Centre for Science and Environment prove its point.
Data released by the CSE on Tuesday during their international conclave on urban transport systems of the world showed that a middle-class commuter in Delhi spends 19.5% of his/her income travelling in the Metro. (Mohd Zakir / HT Photo)
Data released by the CSE on Tuesday during their international conclave on urban transport systems of the world showed that a middle-class commuter in Delhi spends 19.5% of his/her income travelling in the Metro. (Mohd Zakir / HT Photo)
Updated on Sep 07, 2018 05:33 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on Wednesday said that the study by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) — which found the Capital’s Metro system to be the second most unaffordable transport network in the world — was ‘misleading’, based on ‘incorrect information’.

DMRC managing director Mangu Singh on Wednesday said that the study has conveniently chosen only a few Metro networks that helps CSE prove their point. He also said that the calculations also based on incorrect information.

“It is like saying that I am the strongest among people who cannot lift above 10 kilos of weight. Why weren’t the bigger Metro systems such as London and Paris taken into account? How can a 10km network somewhere be compared with a 300km system such as in Delhi,” Singh said.

Union minister of housing and urban affairs Hardeep Singh Puri also came out to defend the DMRC, calling the report ‘falsification of facts.’

“Saying that the Metro ridership has gone down is complete falsification of facts. Metro ridership has gone up by two lakh daily and it is going up further,” Puri said.

The data released by the CSE on Tuesday during their international conclave on urban transport systems of the world showed that a middle-class commuter in Delhi spends 19.5% of his/her income travelling in the Metro. The report said that this percentage increases to 22% in case of low-income groups.

Trashing the data on Wednesday, the DMRC said that instead of 19.5%, Delhi Metro commuters only spend an average of 5.53% of their incomes travelling in the network.

They also said that comparing fare per kilometre, CoMET/NOVA, the agency that keeps tab on the Metro services across the globe, in its report had taken the purchasing power parity into account for 35 Metros and the DMRC was ranked the fourth cheapest network before the fare hikes last year.

Even after the fare hike, DMRC ranks the 11th cheapest in the list.

Countering CSE’s claims of Metro’s dipping ridership, Singh said that the conclusions are being drawn out of ridership projections after the completion of Delhi Metro’s Phase-III.

“We are yet to complete Phase-III, how can it be said that we have not achieved the projections?” he said.

 

CSE said that the fare hike had led to 46% drop in ridership, if compared to projections of 39.5 lakh ridership daily made two years ago for 2018. They said that the average daily ridership of Delhi Metro stands at 27 lakh at present.

Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director (research and advocacy), said that the study focuses on the problems of affordable transport options for people in cities. She said that the study did not target the Delhi Metro in isolation but demands a larger government policy for affordable transport modes while having a sustainable fiscal strategy in the longer run.

“The governments need to figure out means of balancing affordability and sustainability of these networks and that is what the study attempts to highlight. These capital intensive networks will require to recover its costs but that should not come at the expense of the commuters,” Roychowdhury said.

Meanwhile, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) criticised the Central government for allowing the fare hikes while they “ardently opposed it”.

“It is shameful that our Metro is in the list of most unaffordable networks. Under the (Narendra) Modi regime everything that could be afforded by the common man has become beyond his reach,” said Pankaj Gupta, AAP’s national secretary.

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