Delhi Metro’s average daily ridership fell by over 3 lakh after fares were hiked in 2017, figures obtained by The Indian Express through a Right to Information (RTI) application have revealed. While the shortfall in passengers is compensated by ridership in corridors launched after the fare hike, it still falls short of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s actual ridership projections.
Consider this: In May 2017, when fares were hiked after eight years, five operational corridors of the Delhi Metro were carrying 26.50 lakh passengers daily. Nearly two years later, which included a second round of fare hike in October 2017, the same corridors — spanning over 210 km across Delhi and its adjoining satellite towns — registered a daily average ridership of a little over 23 lakh in the first two months of 2019.
The intervening period saw the launch of eight new sections, including the 38-km Magenta Line and 58-km Pink Line, taking the total network length to 373 km, with 271 stations. The Indian Express has accessed the month-wise and line-wise daily average ridership data of the DMRC between May 2017 and February 2019.
Corridors that were operational before the fare hike are the Blue, Yellow, Green, Red and Violet lines. According to DMRC records, since May 2017, the month-wise daily average ridership on the five aforementioned lines touched 26 lakh only three times — in July, August and September 2017.
In fact, since October 2017, when the second phase of the hike kicked in, daily average ridership did not touch 24 lakh even once. In 2018, the highest daily average ridership was in August, when an average 23.91 lakh people took the Metro daily. The daily average ridership on these lines in 2018-19 was 22.85 lakh.
This is a drop from 2015-16, when the Metro registered a daily average ridership of 25.90 lakh. The figure was 27.61 lakh in 2016-17; and 25.38 lakh in 2017-18. In January and February 2019, 23.16 lakh and 23.35 lakh people rode the old corridors. When the new Pink and Magenta lines are considered, the total daily average ridership stands at a little over 26 lakh. However, the DMRC had projected that ridership would touch 40 lakh after the launch of the Phase III corridors. In January and February this year, the Pink and Magenta lines were respectively taken by 3.36 lakh and 3.66 lakh people daily.
The current fare structure of the Metro is Rs 10 up to 2 km; Rs 20 for 2-5 km; Rs 30 for 5-12 km; Rs 40 for 12-21 km, Rs 50 for 21-32 km; and Rs 60 for journeys beyond 32 km.