Kolkata: Metro Railway fares will go up from Thursday, for the first time since 2001. The minimum fare will rise by a rupee to Rs.5, which would still pinch commuters less than a bus or an auto ride over the same distance. The maximum fare will rise from Rs.14 to Rs.25. Kolkata Metro answers some of the questions on the commuters’ minds before the hike comes into effect.
Will I be able to use my existing smart card?
Yes. But from Thursday smart card-holders will pay as much for a ride as those travelling with tokens. Currently, smart card-holders get a concession of Rs.1.
Will I still get a bonus after recharging my smart card?
Yes, but the bonus has been reduced to 10 per cent from 25 per cent. The cards can be recharged with a minimum of Rs.100 and a maximum of Rs.1000. Subsequent recharging can be done but the balance must not exceed Rs.5000.
Can I recharge my smart card before November 7 to avail myself of the existing rate of bonus?
The recharge option is available up to Rs.500. Metro officials said there has been a 30 per cent rise in recharging of smart cards at several stations in the run-up to the hike.
Will the trains be less crowded post-hike?
Metro officials expect the passenger count to fall. They said those who used to travel between five and 10 km would prefer road transport. Metro carries around 7.5 lakh passengers every day, more than 30 per cent of its capacity.
Will I be able to use multi-ride tickets?
All existing Minimum Multi Ride (MMR), Limited Multi Ride (LMR), General Multi Ride (GMR) and Extended Multi Ride (EMR) tickets will be withdrawn. The users need to deposit the multi-ride tickets at the counters before Thursday. In exchange, they will get a smart card that will carry the balance of the multi-ride ticket.
Will I retain the existing balance after November 7?
Yes, but the user will have to recharge the card with at least Rs.100 within a year.
Will the tokens remain the same?
Yes. The same tokens will be used but the software inside the chips will be upgraded to adjust with the revised fare structures.
Any new type of ticket?
Yes. A smart card for tourists will be introduced. A person can by a smart card valued at Rs 250 and avail unlimited rides for one day. A three-day unlimited ride will cost Rs.550.
Will the services improve?
Not immediately. Metro authorities said they were planning to add more trains so the five-minute frequency could be stretched. But that won’t happen in three to four months.