NEW DELHI: The fare hike by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) last month has led to loss in ridership by three lakh, reveals an RTI.
Daily average ridership of the Metro came down to 24.2 lakh in October from 27.4 lakh in September, translating to a fall of around 11 per cent. The data further reveals that this is the most significant drop in terms of numbers in the recent past.
The two busiest lines of the DMRC network, Blue Line and Yellow Line, lost 30 lakh and 19 lakh customers respectively, after the new fares were implemented.
DMRC refuted the charges in a statement: “The drop in the ridership in October is not solely attributable to increase in fares as there are otherwise monthly variations noted throughout the year. In October there were five Sundays in comparison to September with four where ridership is around 60-70% of the working day ridership. This monthly variation in ridership is dependent on the multiple factors like seasons, vacations, holidays, festivals etc.”
After a huge backlash and protests, the increased fares were implemented after a nod from the Central government. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had called the move “highly flawed” and demanded a third party audit of DMRC. DMRC argued that such a hike was necessary for the maintenance of the Metro network and for good services.
Delhi government and DMRC sparred over the issue with Kejriwal asking the agency to follow the Hong Kong model to turn around the Metro network in Delhi. AAP leader Ashutosh said, “The lessening of ridership by three lakh raises the same question again, whether the Metro is a mode of public transport or is run for profits. It is natural that three lakh commuters chose not use the Metro as it was being run with a motive to garner profits. It seems like the Metro is being run on the whims and fancies of the Central government.”
P K Sarkar Professor of Transport Planning at the School of Planning and Architecture, said, “Three lakh is not much. This is a normal trend when prices are tampered with. It takes an average commuter time to decide if he/she should continue taking the Metro or use other modes of transport after a fare hike.”