High Court agrees to cut Mumbai Metro fares

Written by PTI | Mumbai | Updated: Jul 8 2014, 03:58am hrs
Mumbai MetroThe Ghatkopar-Versova Metro route was launched last month. MMRDA had challenged the fare hike by RInfra.(PTI)
The Bombay High Court today accepted the proposal of Reliance Infrastructure Ltd and Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL) to slash the fares of Mumbai Metro from Rs 10-Rs 40 bracket to Rs 10-Rs 20 till the month-end.

The promotional fare of Rs 10 would end today and the higher rates were slated to come into force.

Reliance Infra is the major partner of the consortium which floated MMOPL which operates Metro. Government agency MMRDA, another partner of consortium, has disputed the fares.

Lawyers Iqbal Chagla and Janak Dwarkadas of Reliance Infra and MMOPL respectively informed the division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice M S Sonak that they will keep the fares at Rs 10 for distance upto 3 kms, Rs 15 upto 8 kms and Rs 20 for longer journey (upto 20 kms) till July 31.

The High Court then adjourned the hearing to July 23. It also issued notices to the central government and Maharashtra Urban Development Department on the point of formation of Fare Fixation Committee (FFC).

The Court is hearing an appeal of Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) against the single bench order of the High Court denying it the right to decide fares.

The Ghatkopar-Versova Metro route was launched last month. MMRDA had challenged the fare hike by RInfra.

Justice R D Dhanuka had last month dismissed MMRDA's petition saying that as per the agreement between the parties, MMOPL had the right to decide the initial fares till Fare Fixation Committee decided them.

RInfra and MMOPL contended that despite their communication to the authorities in November 2013, the FFC has not been set up as the government has not yet nominated its member on the committee.

MMRDA lawyer Aspi Chenoy stated that FFC will be notified soon and within three months the fares will be decided; till then MMOPL could continue with the fares decided in the agreement.

MMRDA said the consortium had agreed on a structure under which fares were to be Rs Nine (upto 3 kms), Rs 11 (from 3 to 8 kms) and Rs 13 (for more than 8 kms). MMOPL, however, fixed the initial fares at Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 30 and Rs 40.

The single judge, while refusing to stay the fares, had observed that the agreement indicated that MMOPL is empowered to fix the fares till FFC is formed.