Delhi Metro has responded to a report by a green body that claimed that Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is the second most-unaffordable metro system in the world when it comes to the percentage of income spent on it by commuters. The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) report also claimed that Delhi Metro witnessed nearly 32% less than the number of passengers it had hoped to serve this year. DMRC rubbished the report and also said that the earlier projection included Phase-3 which is yet to be operational.Delhi Metro called the study "misleading and not based on facts and data". "This study is conveniently comparing DMRC with very selected metros across the world. Why don't you compare with big metros," asked DMRC MD Mangu Singh.
Talking about CSE's claim of reduced ridership Singh said, "It is seen from the report that ridership of DMRC is 27 lakhs as against project ridership of 39 lakhs. The 39.5 lakhs ridership is projected after completion of Phase -3. The Phase -3 is yet to be fully made operational and stabilized. Therefore, any such comparison at this stage, is only misleading and unrealistic."
Clarifying that they were talking about the overall picture of the transport system, Executive Director of CSE, Anumita Roy Chowdhury said, "Our public transport system is not functioning optimally and there needs to be a strategy to increase the ridership so that people's dependence on their personal vehicle reduces." She also added that they took other cities into consideration as well. The other cities considered in the report were Buenos Aires, Cairo, Hanoi, Jakarta, Kiev, Manila, Mexico City and Mumbai.
"Metros like Jakarta do not exist yet, it will come into operation in January 2019. So how could there be comparison with a metro that isn't operational," Singh said.The CSE report said that after the last fare hike in 2017, Delhi Metro became the second most-unaffordable service in the world among cities that charge less than half a dollar for a trip. "Of nine metropolitan cities across the world where the cost for a 10-km trip is less than half-a-US dollar, the Delhi Metro remains the second-most unaffordable system in terms of percentage of income spent for using it," the CSE study said.
The study said that Delhi Metro came second only to Hanoi where commuters spend 25% of their income on metro rides.
Singh also said that there are other metros in the country like Lucknow, Chennai and Kochi where the fare is higher than in Delhi Metro. He then questioned the report asking how, then, can Delhi Metro be the second-most unaffordable metro in the world.
The report also claimed that commuters from the lower income group spent 22% of their income on transportation. Singh said that that is also an extreme case.
"As per our exact figure, a total of Rs 268.84 crore was the actual fare earned in July and the total number of passengers who travelled on the metro were 7.79 crore. So the revenue per trip comes to Rs 34.50. His expenditure will be Rs 1,518 per month and average per capita income in Delhi is Rs 27,424, according to economic survey done by Delhi govt," the DMRC Chief said.
Singh added that based on these calculations, a commuter spends only 5.53% and not 22% of their income on metro rides.
Giving figures, the DMRC said the minimum fare of travelling in Delhi Metro is Rs 10 while maximum fare is Rs 60. On the other hand, the minimum fare in London tube is Rs 450 while maximum fare is Rs 551 and minimum fare in Singapore metro is Rs 40 while maximum fare is Rs 105 per journey.
"The report has conveniently ignored the various benefits of Delhi Metro to the city in terms of reduction in green house emission, air pollution, number of accidents on roads, reduction in congestions on roads, etc.," Singh further said.
(With PTI inputs; edited by Anwesha Madhukalya)