New-found love for Metro derails workhorse multi-modal transport system: says the Association Members
HYDERABAD: Despite limited accessibility, the multi-modal transport system (MMTS) run in partnership between the Telangana government and the South Central Railway (SCR), is a significant contributor to railway coffers.
While ticket fares for first class on the MMTS run 10 times higher than second class fares, the railways earn a huge revenue from first class passengers across four divisions -Hyderabad, Secunderabad, Lingampally and Falaknuma. Between July 2016 and June 2017, MMTS witnessed a 3.4 per cent rise in the number of first class season ticket holders.
According to railway sources, roughly 5.44 crore passengers avail of MMTS services every year; while 1.6 lakh people are found commuting on these suburban trains every day . Its total annual contribution to the railway coffers: Rs.30.45 crore . Estimates suggest that the railways usually earn over Rs.1.17 crore from the sale of first class season tickets per year while the annual revenue generated from the sale of daily second class season tickets is Rs.6.22 crore.
Railway documents show that the maximum second class tickets are sold in December while sale dips in February .Similarly , the month of October sees the highest sale of first class tickets, while the lowest number of first class passengers is recorded in April.
“We decided to hike the MMTS fare from January 2016 as the railway stations in Secunderabad and Hyderabad were included in suburban section. The increase was aimed at ramping up facilities at railway stations and upgrading them to C class,” said Raja Narsu a senior railway official. Inspite of fare revisions, SCR documents on monthly renewal of seasonal tickets reveal that the number of regular MMTS commuters in first class compartments is 34 times higher than passengers who travel by these local trains on and off.But some officials think that the upcoming metro corridors might spell a doom for MMTS.
“Now the government is focused on the metro rail project; they are pumping in large sums of money . They need to consider some investment for the growth of MMTS as well. It is unfortunate that 14 years on, the MMTS network is still not accessible to several parts of the city,” said Raja Narsu, a senior railway official.
Sivanath Vempati, member of MMTS Travellers’ Group in Hyderabad said it was unfair of the government to focus on the upcoming multi-crore metro corridors in the city while ignoring the importance of MMTS trains, on which lakhs of people depend for daily commute.”More funds should be allotted to strengthen the MMTS networks here,” he said.
Another member of the group K Vijayaraghavan added, “There is much room for improvement of MMTS service and its frequency should be increased. Till now, 121 trains ply on routes like Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Lingampally and Falaknuma. This is not enough, if compared to the rise in number of daily commuters,” he pointed out.