Citing improved ridership figures, Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri today said another hike in Delhi Metro fares was unlikely, even as he favoured concessions for senior citizens and students.
“The (metro) ridership has gone up to 28 lakh in past 20 days and I believe it could go up to 45 lakh although the conservative estimate of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation(DMRC) managing director puts it at 39 lakh,” he said.
The Housing and Urban Affairs Minister was speaking to reporters after the inauguration of Durgabai Deshmukh South Campus-Lajpat Nagar section of Pink Line. The good news is that the Delhi Metro rail is reaching a point of maturity and the ridership is increasing, he said.
On being asked about any future hike in the Delhi Metro fares, the minister said, “Let me tell you, this time I am convinced that the steps we have taken and the improved financial condition (of DMRC) as well as good ridership, I do not think we need to increase the fares”.
The metro fares had almost doubled after two-phased hikes in May and October last year, following recommendations of the fourth fare fixation committee which comprises representatives from the Centre and the Delhi government.
Puri noted if revenue situation remained good, there was no question of recommending an increase in the fares. He also underlined the need to bring technology-based solutions to provide “respite” to senior citizens and students availing the metro rail services.
The Union minister, who was accompanied by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, said solutions to problems like delayed Phase IV would be found in a cooperative manner. He said it was the duty of both the Centre and the Delhi government to support DMRC in its expansion plans. “It is our duty- myself and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal- to support them (DMRC) which we are doing. The remaining problems, regarding the upcoming lines…we will find a solution in a cooperative manner that will be in the interest of citizens of Delhi,” Puri said.
In reply to a question over Kejriwal’s recent letter asking the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to bear Delhi’s share of cost of rapid transit project due to inadequate finances, the minister said the two sides appreciated ground realities. “I think, between me and the chief minister, we have sufficient appreciation of the ground realities and we are looking ahead. There is a mature bilateral dialogue between us. We will find a solution to it,” he added.