Between June and October, DTC reaped benefits of Metro fare hike
NEW DELHI: Since the second hike this year in Delhi Metro fares was effected in October, buses of the Delhi Transport Corporation have witnessed nearly a 20 per cent rise in ridership per day between June and October.
However, the yearly ridership saw a dip of 5 per cent from the last year, a senior DTC official said.
"After the Metro fare hike, there has been a significant rise in DTC ridership. But the total yearly ridership is less than that of last year," the official told Millennium Post.
He said that after the first Metro fare hike came into effect in May, the ridership per day of DTC buses in June was nearly 25.8 lakh. In July, the ridership per day jumped by over two lakh to 27 lakh.
The official added that the daily ridership in August was 28.7 lakh, followed by 30.8 lakh in September. In October, the number was 31.2 lakh.
In 2016, the daily ridership of DTC buses was 30 lakh, which dropped to nearly 28 lakh in 2017.
A study by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) showed that DTC's daily average ridership declined by over 35 per cent between 2012-13 and 2016. From 47 lakh in 2012-13, it dropped to 30 lakh by the end of 2016, the CSE report said.
As per latest available DTC statistics, about 30 lakh passengers are carried daily, of which a mere 14 lakh (45 per cent) are ticketed. The rest (16 lakh) use passes, it noted. The DTC official noted that in 2012, DTC had nearly 6,200 buses. Now, it has only 3,944 buses.
"The number of buses has declined and later, the frequency of buses was affected. The combination of these factors is the main reason behind the decline in ridership," he said, asserting that after the Metro fare hike, there has been an extended need for DTC buses; but the Transport department has failed procure more buses.
"Even when we plan to buy the buses, bus companies do not want to take care of maintenance of these buses and the whole pressure comes to DTC. But this time, the Cabinet has approved and we have said that DTC will do the maintenance. The process of buying 1,000 buses is on," he said.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday wrote to Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, seeking a review of the hike in Metro fares and reiterated his offer to partially bear the cost of the proposed "claw back".
Puri, however, said that neither the Centre nor the Delhi government has powers to rollback the fares fixed by the fixation committee headed by a retired judge and claimed that the ridership on three different days in October this year were higher than the last year.
Hitting back, the Union minister said that the 35 per cent fall in the DTC riders and shortfall of buses called for an urgent attention.