Delhi Metro fare hike: Arvind Kejriwal writes to Hardeep Singh Puri, says rate increase boosting pollution

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New Delhi | December 13, 2017 9:24 PM

Delhi Metro fare hike: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday wrote to Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri, seeking a review of the hike in metro fares and reiterated his offer to partially bear the cost of the proposed hike.

Delhi Metro fare hike: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday wrote to Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri, seeking a review of the hike in metro fares. (Express photo).

Delhi Metro fare hike: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday wrote to Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri, seeking a review of the hike in metro fares and reiterated his offer to partially bear the cost of the proposed hike. The Delhi CM said that besides causing an increase in the pollution levels in Delhi, “high metro tariffs” also directly affect the travel pattern of the economically weaker sections of the society. Kejriwal in his letter to the Minister of State for housing and urban affairs said there has been a decline of about 10.5 percent in the number of passenger trips undertaken during November 2017, compared to the same month in 2016. “Past data, as well as the claims made by the DMRC, indicate that passenger trips grow by about 8.5-9 percent every year,” he said. “Even if we assume a conservative growth rate of 8 percent per annum, it would be evident that not only was this growth of 8 percent missed, there was also a decline of 10.5 percent as mentioned above, implying a total loss of 18.5 percent in passenger trips,” Kejriwal added.

It implies that there was a shift of 15.3 lakh passenger trip from the Delhi Metro in November 2017 alone, which suggests these trips were undertaken by other modes that are less friendly to the environment, he said in a letter to Puri. He said for a full year, these trips would be nearly two crore, and evidently, this would add significantly to air pollution at a time when the air quality is severely stressed.

“In view of the sharp decline in ridership after the recent tariff hike, it seems necessary in public interest to review this hike and claw back the fares to their September level,” Kejriwal said. Even then, the commuters would pay 50 percent more than the tariffs payable in May 2017, but anything above that would be “injurious” to the commuters and to the public interest, he also said.

“I reiterate our earlier offer to bear half the losses arising out of the proposed rollback,” Kejriwal added. The Delhi Metro lost over three lakh commuters a day after a significant fare hike came into effect on October 10, an RTI query revealed last month. Later, Puri claimed the dip in the ridership cannot be linked to the fare hike effected in October, which, it said, was necessary for maintaining “efficiency.”

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