Fare hike may have cost the Delhi Metro in terms of commuters, but its earnings per kilometre have gone up by 61% as compared to 2016-17, shows the status report of the Delhi Outcome Budget. According to the report, the Metro’s target daily average ridership was 30 lakh in 2017-18, but it came down to 25.7 lakh (as per data till December last year), which is likely due to the fare hikes in May and October. In 2016-17, around 28 lakh commuters took the rapid mass transit per day, according to the report, which means that Delhi Metro Rail Corporation lost around 3 lakh commuters daily.
But it isn’t likely to reflect in the corporation’s balance sheet. In 2016-17 it earned Rs 932.78 per km, but post fare hike, in 2017-18, the earnings have gone up to Rs 1,503.13 per km.
On the other hand, Metro’s operating cost per km was Rs 858.86 in 2016-17 as against Rs 967.83 in 2017-18.
At a time when Metro’s ridership dwindled, the DTC’s ridership also fell, but its performance was surprisingly better than what was envisaged. The DTC carried around 32 lakh passengers per day in 2016-17, and it had a target of carrying 28.73 lakh passengers daily in 2017-18, considering its shrinking bus fleet. However, the DTC fleet carried 30.44 lakh passengers every day till December 2017, which is nearly two lakh more than its target. It earned Rs 30.48 per km as against the operating cost of Rs 99.31.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal made a renewed pitch for rolling back the Metro fare hike Wednesday. He tweeted, “If Centre also agrees that Metro fare hike was wrong, why not reverse it by setting up another fare fixation committee immediately. Let’s not make it an ego issue. It is affecting lakhs of commuters every day.”
According to records with the Delhi government, the average daily ridership of Metro in the months following the fare hike dropped by up to 15% as opposed to the previous month, hitting a four-year low. In October, November, December 2017 and January 2018, an average of 24.2 lakh, 24.5 lakh, 22.97 lakh and 23.23 lakh people commuted daily on Yellow Line, Blue Line, Red Line, Green Line and Violet Line collectively. In February, the figure improved marginally to 24.06 lakh.