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Delhi Metro’s maximum fare rises to ₹50

DMRC says fare hike was imperative in the wake of rise in input costs, cites rise in operating ratio to 69% in 2015 from 48% in 2011 as reason

delhi Updated: May 09, 2017 16:03 IST
Faizan Haidar
Faizan Haidar
Hindustan Times
Delhi Metro,Metro,DMRC
The money saved by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is largely used in clearing the debt of Rs 45,000 crore(Ankit Kumar/HT Photo)

In 2011, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) saved 52% of the money it earned from Metro operations but last financial year, the margin reduced to around 25%.

The money saved by the DMRC is largely used in clearing the debt of Rs 45,000 crore. Due to increase in the operating ratio over the years, the Delhi Metro is unable to dedicate enough funds for maintenance.

“The necessity of revision in fares was on account of increase in the cost of inputs — the staff cost, the cost of energy and the cost of repair and maintenance. Since constitution of the third fare fixation committee, there has been an increase in the rate of industrial dearness allowance (DA) by 95.5% (from 16.90% to 112.40%), rate of Central DA by 103% (from 22% to 125%) and average increase in the rate of minimum wages by 156.2%. The last fare revision took place in 2009 and the fourth committee was set up after almost seven years in 2016,” said a DMRC spokesperson.

The operating ratio of DMRC increased to 69% in 2015 from 48% in 2011. The operation ratio means that if DMRC earned Rs 100 in 2011, it spent Rs 48 on maintenance of infrastructure.

According to DMRC director finance, KK Saberwal, losses will still be there but through extra fare collection, they hope to reduce the loan burden.

The DMRC has been requesting for an increase in fare since 2009. It faced obstacles as the Centre had failed to constitute a fare panel, which was finally set up in 2016.

Since 2009, electricity tariff has gone up by over 90%, accounting for almost 30% of DMRC’s total operating costs.

Fare fixation committees are temporary in nature and are set up by the Centre only when a Metro Rail Corporation requests a fare hike.

The Delhi Metro fare panel was headed by justice ML Mehta, a retired judge of Delhi high court. The other two members were Delhi chief secretary KK Sharma and additional secretary in urban development ministry DS Mishra.

Concerned that non-revision of fares may compromise quality of service, NITI Aayog, the government’s top think tank, had earlier this year written to the Prime Minister’s Office to take a call on increasing the fare of one of the city’s most popular mode of public transport.

In a letter to Nripendra Misra, principal secretary to PM Narendra Modi, NITI Aayog chairman Arvind Panagariya said that “at the current level, the fares are inadequate for the provision of high quality services and maintenance”.

Discounts for passengers

About 15 lakh passengers travelling with Delhi Metro will only be marginally affected by Delhi Metro’s fare hike, if they plan their travel during non-peak hours and carry smart cards.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), which has increased the fare, will offer discounts for commute during non-peak hours, Sundays and national holidays.

About 28-30 lakh people travel in Delhi Metro everyday and about 50% of them travel during non-peak hours.

The revised fare will only be applicable from 8am to 12noon and then from 5pm to 9pm. Any person exiting the Metro station before or after this period will get a discount of 10%. Since the discount is applicable only for smart card holders, the total discount would be 20% as commuters already get 10% discount for using smart card.

“If a passenger is buying a token during non-peak hours, he will pay Rs 50 for over 32 km but for the same journey, the smart card holder will pay Rs 40. To avoid overcrowding during peak hours, an additional 10% discount is being offered. But passengers have to exit the Metro station before peak hours come into effect,” said a DMRC official.

To promote travel on Sundays and national holidays, a separate fare slab has been finalised. The Delhi government is, however, not happy with the decision.

“Delhi Metro fare hike is a wrong decision. Elected Delhi government had opposed the move. It will adversely affect the regular passengers. Delhi government in its opinion had told DMRC that women and students would be adversely affected in case of a fare hike. The government had told DMRC that increase in fares will force commuters to shift to personal vehicles and in fact fares should be reduced,” said a Delhi government spokesperson.

This is the fourth time since the beginning of its operations in 2002 that Delhi Metro is revising its fares. When Delhi Metro started operations on December 25, 2002, the minimum fare was Rs 4 and maximum was Rs 8.

The first fare fixation committee was constituted in December 2003 and revised fares were adopted from March 31, 2004 (after a gap of one year and three months) with minimum fare of Rs 6 and maximum Rs 15. The fares recommended by the second fare fixation committee were made effective form December 31, 2005 with minimum fare of Rs 6 and maximum Rs 22.

The third fare fixation committee was constituted in June 2009 and fares were made effective from November 13, 2009 after a gap of four years (approx) with a minimum fare of Rs 8 and maximum Rs 30.

The Delhi Metro has also increased the time a passenger can spend after entering Metro premises.

First Published: May 08, 2017 23:51 IST