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Thursday, Aug 22, 2019

Fare hike fails to deter Metro’s popularity in low-income areas

After the two-part fare hike in 2017, the DMRC had come with a technology to record the commuter traffic on each of Metro corridor separately to assess the utilisation of the network.

delhi Updated: Jul 29, 2019 07:57 IST
Soumya Pillai
Soumya Pillai
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Commuters rush to board metro trains in New Delhi’s Rajiv Chowk metro station.
Commuters rush to board metro trains in New Delhi’s Rajiv Chowk metro station. (REUTERS)
         

High population density, low dependence on private vehicles and the easy availability of cheap, ‘unorganised feeder services’ to reach stations has made the Delhi Metro corridors popular around areas that cut through low income neighbourhoods, transport experts said.

Senior Metro officials said though factors such as the line length and the population density of the neighbourhood connected by each Metro corridor played a role in the number of commuters who used a line, data showed that the Metro services were still popular in the not-so-posh areas.

After the two-part fare hike in 2017, the DMRC had come with a technology to record the commuter traffic on each of Metro corridor separately to assess the utilisation of the network.

Sewa Ram, professor of transport planning at the School of Planning and Architecture, said though the density of population in areas such as Jahangirpuri, Seelampur and Mundka was high, they also have cheaper options to reach the stations.

“It is a myth that the residents in lower income neighbourhoods have no alternatives to commute. In fact, when you compare them to the residents of Vasant Vihar or Hauz Khas, who mostly rely on personal vehicles or auto rickshaws to reach the metro stations, the commuters here have alternatives, though unorganised, that are as cheap as ₹5 or ₹10 ,” said Ram. He said though the Metro fare was increased, for a longer commute, it still remains a cost effective option .

After 2017 fare hike, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government had demanded that the increased ticket cost be rolled back as lower income groups would not be able to afford the services. AAP MP Sushil Gupta said, “I have seen college students from the trans-Yamuna areas switching to buses to travel to their colleges. Our demand is that the Metro should be affordable to everyone,” Gupta said.

He added that with more affordable rates the DMRC will add more commuters to its network, helping the agency meet its operational expenses better.

Amit Bhatt, director (transport), at World Resources Institute India said high dependence on private vehicles is also a reason behind Metro not gaining popularity in posh neighbourhoods.

First Published: Jul 29, 2019 07:50 IST

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