The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation on Saturday defended its decision on another fare hike saying its input costs have gone up over the years, and the increase is on par with other city metro rails.
In a statement issued here, the DMRC said it has been operating in the city since 2002, and is presently carrying around 27 lakh passengers everyday.
“To continue to provide a world class service, it is essential to operate as a healthy organization. Keeping this in view, the provision has been made for the periodic revision of fares through a Fare Fixation Committee (FFC) in the Delhi Metro Operations & Maintenance Act, 2002,” the statement said.
“However, since 2009, there has been no fare increase whereas the input cost for DMRC has increased by over 105 per cent in Energy, 139 per cent in staff cost and by 213 per cent for repair and maintenance”.
“In addition, the DMRC has taken a huge loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and a payment of Rs 26,760 crore is still outstanding which has to be paid back,” it said.
The statement said DMRC has to provide for depreciation and replacement of various assets such as the trains (Rolling Stock) which have a life of 30 years and will have to be replaced subsequently, and for this provision has to be made.
“Inspite of operating efficiently, the DMRC is making a net loss of Rs 378 crore in view of the above factors.”
The statement also said that the long gap of over eight years in the formation of FFC has resulted in the fare hike in percentages, which if seen on yearly basis, is in the reasonable range of 7-8 per cent per annum taking into account the two phase of the fare hike – the first that was done in May this year, and the second phase which is to be done in October.
“The DMRC is constantly making efforts to reduce its operating cost by going for solar power projects and increasing the energy efficiency at its stations besides introducing new initiatives on Property Development and Property Business front. DMRC is consistently increasing number of trains, AFC gates, lifts, escalators and other passenger services which also result in the increase of input cost but are essential for providing a world class service,” it said.
It also defended the hike saying that once the third phase of Metro is operational, commuters will have to travel shorter distances, and pay lesser.
“A comparison of metro fares of many Metros in India shows that the DMRC’s maximum fare level is either less or comparable with other metros which are operating in India inspite of a higher per capita income in Delhi,” the statement said.
The statement added that as the metro system is getting older, more maintenance procedures, preventive and corrective checks, safety and reliability checks, replacement of electrical fittings, base plates, rail testing are required and essential for providing a world class service, which also leads to increased cost in overall operations and maintenance.
“The Metro fares have been decided independently by the Fare Fixation Committee which is a statutory body,” it added.
The Delhi government has told the Delhi Metro Rail Corp (DMRC) to hold its impending fare hike till it completes an enquiry on the proposed increase.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is in power in the national capital, has also threatened to launch a protest campaign if DMRC is adamant on increasing the Metro fares.