Fare Panel Will Decide If Delhi Metro Fares Should Be Hiked Annually: Puri
While the recommendations of a Centre-appointed panel are still awaiting nod for increasing the fares in January next year, Housing Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has indicated that there might be no fare hike next year if the Delhi Chief Minister's recommendations are accepted.
"It was for that reason that a decision was taken that the pricing of Metro (fares) should not be left on either the Centre or the state government... a fare fixation committee decides whether fares should be increased or not... I cannot influence the committee," Puri said
The two-phase fare increase that was implemented in May and October this year was recommended by the same panel, headed by M L Mehta.
"The fare fixation committee had increased fares of the Metro, and I believe that fare fixation committee will set an example by reducing fares this time," Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said while talking to media at the inauguration of the Pink Line on March 14.
In its report, the Fourth Fare Fixation Committee (FFC), constituted under the Metro Railway Act, has also recommended an "automatic annual fare revision", under which commuting tariff will go up by up to seven per cent.
The mechanism, which was also proposed by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) management, will stay in effect till the constitution of the next FFC.
The committee recommended that the DMRC should revise the fares once in a year, based on an automatic fare revision formula which must take into account the increase in the costs of staff, maintenance, energy, and the Consumer Price Index-based inflation, or, seven per cent per annum (in each fare slab), whichever is lower.
The panel has also suggested rates be revised January 1 every year. It is worth mentioning here that the latest two-round fare hike had come after seven years.
"All the fares should be rounded off to the next rupee. This automatic fare revision will come in effect from January 1, 2019, and every year thereafter, till the recommendations of the next FFC come into effect," the committee said in the report.
During the tussle over the recent hike with the Kejriwal-led Delhi government, Puri had claimed that the Centre was in no position to tamper with the recommendations of the FFC as doing so was "legally untenable".
Subsequently, fares were hiked by up to 100 per cent across multiple distance slabs. Data show the Metro lost three lakh daily commuters following the October-10 fare hike.
The revelation triggered a slugfest between the Kejriwal government and the Centre. Kejriwal said the fare hike was "killing" the Metro, and pushing commuters away from it.
Currently, commuters have to pay Rs 10 for a travel up to two kms, Rs 20 for a travel between 2-5 kms, Rs 30 for a travel between 5-12 kms, Rs 40 for a travel between 12-21 kms, Rs 50 for a travel between 21-32 kms and Rs 60 for journeys beyond 32 kms.
With inputs from Housing News