Metro operator says it’s bleeding, HC verdict on fare todayhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/metro-operator-says-its-bleeding-hc-verdict-on-fare-today/

Metro operator says it’s bleeding, HC verdict on fare today

Tells the court its losses are mounting despite carrying around 2.65 lakh passengers daily on an average.

MMOPL is locked in a legal battle with the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and RInfra over the fixation of fares for the Metro.
MMOPL is locked in a legal battle with the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and RInfra over the fixation of fares for the Metro.

The Reliance-Infrastructure (RInfra)-led Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL), which operates the Mumbai Metro, told the Bombay High Court Wednesday that it was suffering a daily loss of Rs 85 lakh.

The MMOPL, which is the special purpose vehicle operating the financial capital’s first Metro rail line between Versova and Ghatkopar via Andheri, told the court it was bleeding despite carrying around 2.65 lakh passengers daily on an average.

MMOPL is locked in a legal battle with the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and RInfra over the fixation of fares for the Metro.

A single-judge bench of of the High Court had, on June 24 last year, dismissed a petition filed by the MMRDA, a stakeholder in the consortium, challenging the hike by RInfra on the opening fares. The MMRDA had then appealed against the order before a bench headed by the Chief Justice.

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MMRDA’s counsel Aspi Chinoy told the High Court that the rail administrator was bound by the contract with the state authorities. “Initial fares are fixed, following which the concession agreement, a contractual obligation for the operator, allows it to approach the Fare Fixation Committee (FFC) for revision. But he cannot devise his own fare,” Chinoy submitted.

According to MMRDA, the consortium had agreed on the structure under which fares were to be Rs 9 (up to 3 kms), Rs 11 (from 3 to 8 kms) and Rs 13 (for more than 8 kms).

MMOPL has, however, now fixed the initial fares as Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 30 and Rs 40.

Reliance Infrastructure-led 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 a 74 per cent stake in the consortium, while the rest 26 per cent is held by MMRDA.

The High Court will pronounce its order on January 8.

mumbai.newsline@expressindia.com