The number of women commuters in the Metro network will “increase drastically” after implementation of Delhi government’s free travel proposal, leading to an increase in daily revenue generation by around Rs 1.50 crore, according to a Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) report.
According to the report, the DMRC currently earns around Rs 2.84 crore daily from women commuters, who comprise an estimated 30% of the total daily average traffic flow. Taking the potential uptick in female ridership into account, the Metro estimates the income from journeys made by women will be around Rs 4.26 crore after the scheme is implemented, around Rs 1.42 crore more than what it is earning now.
“While the DMRC has called the figure ‘estimated losses’ on account of free travel by women passengers in the report, it will essentially be more income generated by them as Delhi government will pay for women’s commute,” a government official said.
The report, signed by DMRC Executive Director (Operations), states: “With the free travel to women passengers, the women traffic will increase drastically. There is no study available for that flow on the lower side, but it may be assumed that the number of women passengers will increase by at least 50%.”
According to DMRC, its average earnings from both men and women commuters stand at Rs 9.47 crore daily.
The DMRC has estimated that it will need around Rs 1,566 crore annual subsidy from the Delhi government if the scheme is implemented after clearance from a Fare Fixation Committee, which is to be notified by the Union government under the Delhi Metro Railway (Operation and Maintenance) Act, 2002.
DMRC principal advisor E Sreedharan, who played a pivotal role in setting up the Metro network in Delhi as its first managing director, has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, opposing the fare waiver decision, saying the governments will not be able to subsidise the scheme in the future with rising fares and expanding network.
“What is worse, once concession is given to one section of commuters, immediate demands will arise from more deserving sections such as students, the handicapped, senior citizens, etc. The disease will spread fast to all other Metros in the country, making them dependent on state governments for subsidies,” he wrote.
Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia wrote back, saying the scheme will create a “win-win” situation for everyone as the Metro’s earnings and ridership will go up. He also wrote that the Metro was running at less than 65% of its capacity as its daily average ridership continues to hover around 25 lakh as opposed to the projected 40 lakh.