Millennium Post

Centre, state spar over what caused Metro ridership to fall

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says the steep fare hike will ‘kill’ Delhi Metro;fare hike necessary to maintain efficiency, says Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri.

NEW DELHI: A day after an RTI query revealed that the Metro lost over three lakh commuters a day due to the fare increase in October, the Delhi government and the Centre continued to differ over the reasons that led to the fall in number of commuters.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the fare hike will "kill" Delhi Metro.
"This steep hike in metro fare will kill Delhi Metro. If people stop using it, then what purpose does it serve?," Kejriwal tweeted on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri claimed that the dip in Metro ridership, according to the RTI reply, cannot be linked to the October fare hike, which he was said was necessary for maintaining "efficiency".
Kejriwal, who along with his Aam Aadmi Party had opposed the fare hike, had also said that many passengers have taken to other means of transport, leading to increased pollution and congestion on the city's roads.
Last month, he had called metro fare hike "anti-people".
Moreover, the Delhi Assembly had passed a resolution to oppose the fare increase by the Delhi Metro with Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, alleging that it was a "conspiracy" to benefit private cab companies.
Meanwhile, speaking to reporters on Saturday, Puri said that despite the fare hike, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation's (DMRC) fares were among the "lowest in the world" and the "lowest in India".
"The fare hike has not led to a decline in Metro ridership. For example, in 2016, there was a ridership dip by 1.3 lakh from September to October when there was no change in fares," the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Housing and Urban Affairs said.
Puri said that every year, there are a few months that see an increase in ridership and a decline is observed in the others.
The ridership after the fare revision for many days was actually higher than the ridership on some days before it was revised, he said.
"On previous occasions of fare increase, there were at times temporary dip in ridership which recovered shortly. Ridership in November has shown a rising trend," the union minister said.
However, according to the DMRC's records, the fall in October was the steepest ever.
The Metro has been logging a daily average ridership between 27 lakh and 28 lakh over the recent years, with minor variations.
According to the RTI query, the Metro's daily average ridership came down to 24.2 lakh in October from 27.4 lakh in September, a fall of around 11 per cent. The fare hike on October 10 led to a rise of around Rs 10 for nearly every distance slab. This came barely five months of another hike of up to 100 per cent.
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