Every day, there is a new issue coming into light in the nation’s capital city, New Delhi. Recently, the Delhi Metro fares saw an upsurge which left the common man of NCR aghast. This change in fare was executed on October 10, 2017. It is the second time in the last six months that the prices have hiked its fares. This news has affected many commuters for whom metro is the only cheapest mode of transportation.
Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited is a public transport facility serving the urban areas in the National Capital Region of India, which is under the obligation of State Government of Delhi and Government of India. In May 2016, the Government of India proposed for the hike of fares of Delhi Metro at the 4th Fare Fixation Committee’s meeting, for the sake of proper operations and maintenance of the metro facility. The committee has decided upon a two-phase hike that would come into effect in May and October 2017
According to the press release from DMRC on October 9, the minimum fare was Rs.10 and the maximum was Rs.50 for the phase-1 hike compared to the pre-existing fares ranging from Rs.8 to Rs.30. Now, with the implementation of phase-2 hike, the prices have increased further with a minimum fare of Rs.10 and the maximum being Rs.60. There is an exception of these hikes on Sundays and National holidays with special discounts.
Despite deplore and requests from the State Government of Delhi, the changes in fares have been implemented. Even the state’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal pointed out the central government who reportedly asked the state government to pay Rs.3000 crore annually, in compensation to the hike. In addition, he called the fare hike a “Diwali gift for the people of Delhi duly wrapped in your… letter” as a sardonic reply to the Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri.
On the other hand, DMRC seems to be appeased with their decision, as it will aid in recovering the losses over all these years and also to provide proper infrastructure, safety, etc., to the passengers.
Apart from the political hassle taking place, the situation is proving out to be problematic to commoners, from a working person to a student. One of the reasons that most people choose metro over other transportation facilities was because of it being cheaper and comfortable. But now, with the fare hike, even metro has become the same. It will not be a surprise if the number of people taking metro drastically decreases in the coming days.
Metro has always been a boon to people who cannot financially afford other transport facilities like cabs and autos. For average earning daily wage workers, who mostly prefer metro, the newly implemented rules will be a trouble. Although DMRC is providing discounts to smart card users and additional discounts during off-peak hours, it will not be making a lot of difference.
Other major groups of people affected by this hike are students and employees. They cannot take a chance by choosing other modes of transport due to traffic issues, as time is the most important factor for them. They can neither afford these hiked prices. Moreover, women who generally prefer metro for safety and security reasons are being forced to take buses, cabs, and autos, due to increased fares, which is another risky thing to both them and the government.
The untold risk following this decision has led to an increase in traffic and rush on the roads, as people would start preferring other means of transport. This will aggravate an already existing severe issue in Delhi, which is pollution.
The people of Delhi are not showing their consent to DMRC’s decision and are lashing out at central government. Even AAP has called out people for a rally against fare hike. There may be certain advantages to the government by this decision, but not at the risk of a common person’s comfort.