Due to political opposition, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) which operates the capital’s Metro system is struggling to keep up with increasing cost while keeping the 194 km long system operational. The last time the fares were increased was in 2009 and ever since then, the DMRC has been trying to marginally increase fares while trying to streamline the fare slabs according to which the cost of a ride is calculated. As per them, this is essential to safely continue operations and provide regular maintenance to the system.
Unlike Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL) which recently got a fare hike for the Mumbai Metro approved by a Fare Fixation Committee (FFC), the DMRC has unable to get the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) to even constitute a FFC despite repeated reminders via snail mail (letters) and emails since May 2012. As per the DMRC’s proposal which’ll increase revenue by 38%, the existing fifteen fare slabs that range from Rs 8 to Rs 30 will be replaced by five new fare slabs ranging from Rs 10 to Rs 50. Under this system, the fares will be Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 30, Rs 40 and Rs 50. According to the DMRC, these rounded figures would also help in eliminating the shortage of coins and assist in dispensing change to commuters.
As per the last letter written to the MoUD in February 2015, the DMRC’s chief highlighted that the cost of facets of the system had gone up – electricity (tariff increased by 94% since 2009), employee salaries and maintenance. He specifically pointed that a delay in constituting the FFC will have an “adverse impact on the financial health of Delhi Metro“.
Looking at the DMRC’s constant reminders, one can only hope that the MoUD doesn’t continue to pander to political populism and allows the DMRC to function & act independently, in a manner that it seems fit to not only maintain but enhance its financial health.