Jaipur: The Jaipur Metro will prove to be a white elephant for the state government, if it fails to achieve target ridership on Phase-I (Mansarovar to Chandpole) and Phase 1(B) (Chandpole to Badi Chaupar) corridor.
Wilbur Smith, an international firm, which conducted the ridership survey, estimates 1,21,000 commuters a day till March 31, 2018.
As per the Jaipur Metro Rail Corporation (JMRC) assessment, the project is staring at an annual operational loss of Rs 41 crore for the next 10 years. The loss is calculated at 60% of the ridership. The amount will rise up to Rs 71 crore a year if the loss is calculated at 20% ridership.
For example, even if the JMRC receives 60% ridership in year 2015 – 2016, the annual losses for operational will be Rs 29 crore. At 20%, it will have to bear the losses to the tune of Rs 50 crore. If sources are to be believed, the JMRC is expecting nearly Rs 5 crore annual losses in operations.
With this, JMRC is already under pressure to increase the ridership in its initial year. Chairman and managing director, N C Goel said, “We have invited tender for 80 four-wheelers (jeeps) and 100 e-rickshaws that will be involved in increasing the ridership. Moreover, our fares are comparatively cheaper than other means of transport and it will encourage the residents.”
As JMRC administration is already aware of the amount of losses it will face, other methods are adopted to earn additional revenue. “To bridge the gap, we have installed ATM machines and rent would be charged from the banks. Moreover, to earn revenue, retail stores and mobile towers will be given spaces on rent,” added Goel.
A JMRC official source said, it will remain a huge challenge for JMRC to attract passengers as distance of the stations is too short. For example, if a person has to travel from Mansarovar to Shyaam Nagar (4 km), he/she will not board a metro train and will prefer travelling by own vehicle as climbing up the station after parking vehicle will be tedious for him.
Sources said the Metro will only start earning annual profits from 2018-19, if it continues to receive 60% ridership till that period. However, the delay in commercial run it would have to wait for longer period.
It was further informed that the Jaipur Metro from Mansarovar to Chandpole , a 9.25 km-long track initially , might run at an interval of 15 minutes once operational.
“Fear looms large that the trains might run empty as it is unlikely that the estimated ridership will be met. We are also mulling a proposal to increase the interval between two trains,” said the source.