Mumbai: The Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL) has issued a statement saying that there would be no fare hike until October 31 this year after which the maximum fare would be hiked from Rs 40 to Rs 110. The minimum fare, however, will remain same at Rs 10.
The decision regarding the likely increase in the fares for the Mumbai Metro was decided after the MMOPL conducted a board meeting on Monday morning, consisting of six members of Reliance Infrastructure, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), a state and a Union representative. The decision for a fare hike was reached after the decision got a majority vote.
MMOPL has stated that the Fare Fixation Committee (FFC) has recommended this new fare due to increasing operational costs, “It has recommended that the minimum fare be retained at Rs 10 and the maximum fare be increased to Rs 110. The FFC has recommended the fare after taking all aspects into consideration enriched by the reports of four experts appointed by the committee,” said the statement.
Abhay Kumar Mishra, CEO, MMOPL said that the body welcomes the fare hike. “We welcome the recommendations by the FFC, which has taken into consideration the cost to operate the line, business viability and the value propositions that metro brings-in to its commuters.
While at the business level, MMOPL continues to make significant cash losses, considering the interest of commuters it is decided to maintain the existing fare for the time being while we engage with the government of Maharashtra and other authorities to progress on leads given by the FFC/experts,” he said. MMRDA commissioner UPS Madan, who replied to a message sent by this newspaper, said, “We oppose the Rs 110 fare hike as proposed by MMOPL.”
MMOPL has then suggested that that the state should provide an annual subsidy of Rs 100 crore or a one-time settlement of Rs 1,000 crore. “To bridge the cash deficit, it has been suggested that MMOPL be granted an annual subsidy of Rs 100 crore per year or a one-time grant of Rs 1,000 crore to stop the company from bleeding,” said fare fixation committee consultant G. Raghuram from IIM-Ahmedabad in the release.
Regard the subsidy Mr Madan said, “The proposal has not been sent to us yet.” Senior MMRDA officials point out that just as MMOPL has been spending money on operations, even the MMRDA has been spending a lot of money on security at Metro stations, so the MMOPL’s demand is unjustified. “The demand is frivolous since MMRDA has been spending Rs 700 crore annually on the security agencies it has hired at all the stations,” said the official.