Following the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s (MMRDA) petition against Metro fare hike in the city’s first Metro rail corridor, the Bombay High Court has decided to hear the case on June 13.
Justice R D Dhanuka said he would hear MMRDA’s ‘arbitration’ petition on Friday as Reliance Infrastructure, the lead stakeholder in the consortium had sought time to file a reply.
Reliance Infrastructure-led Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL) has constructed the 11.4-km Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro on a public-private partnership model.
The company along with private firm Veolia Transport holds 74 percent stake, while the rest 26 percent is held by MMRDA.
E P Bharucha, MMRDA’s lawyer, said there is an urgent need to decide on the Metro fare as operations have already begun. In its petition, the MMRDA has sought the appointment of an arbitrator for the Metro fare and has also urged the court for a stay on the fare decided by MMOPL.
“The Authority has claimed Metro fares were fixed at Rs 9 (up to 3 km), Rs 11 (from 3 to 8 km) and Rs 13 (for more than 8 km). This fare chart was accepted by the Consortium and it was specifically mentioned in the Concession Agreement,” an MMRDA official said.
With the project now under the Central government’s Metro Act since October 2013, the MMOPL being the designated Metro Rail Administrator has independently notified a fare of Rs 10 to Rs 40 for different distance segments.
Under the Act, the metro rail administrator has the flexibility to fix the initial fare. For now, services are running with a flat promotional fare of Rs 10 for a month.
The Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro was opened on Sunday, eight years after former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh first laid the foundation stone.
The mass transit corridor had an overwhelming response on the first day with a ridership record of nearly 2.4 lakh in 230 trips, While crowd continued to trickle in on Monday, services were better managed with fewer disruptions.