Reliance Infra-led Metro operator increases Metro Rail tariff following a ruling by Bombay HCj

मुंबई Mumbai: The Reliance Infrastructure-led Metro operator on Friday increased the tariff of the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro to Rs 10-40 from the existing Rs 10-20 following a ruling by the Bombay High Court, allowing the operator to fix the initial fare for the line. Accordingly, commuters boarding at Versova and travelling by purchasing tokens will have to pay Rs 10 up to the DN Nagar station, Rs 20 to travel to Western Express Highway Station, Rs 30 to travel up to Sakinaka and Rs 40 till the terminating point of Ghatkopar.

To promote the use of smartcards, the Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL) has put in place a concessional fare for smart-card users. Commuters using smart-cards will have to pay Rs 10 from Versova to DN Nagar, Rs 18 instead of Rs 20 up to Western Express Highway station, Rs 27 instead of Rs 30 up to Sakinaka, and Rs 32 instead of Rs 40 up to Ghatkopar. The fare for return journey tokens will be twice that of the single-journey tariff. The rates of the Metro corridor’s promotional trip-based passes will remain unchanged until January 15. Accordingly, commuters can buy a monthly pass for Rs 600 to avail of 45 trips on the Metro, and Rs 800 for 60 trips. An MMOPL spokesperson said, “After the Bombay High Court ruling, the MMOPL implemented its initial fare. It will help MMOPL to provide sustainable transport service to the city.” The tariff structure will be in place until it is revised by a three-member fare fixation committee that the Union government is yet to form. While ruling in favour of the MMOPL on Thursday, the Bombay High Court also remarked the Union government for the delay in the formation of this committee. It has now set a January 31 deadline for the committee to be formed.

If a few recommendations by the state government would have been made back in 2009 to incorporate amendments to the Metro Railways (Amendment) Act, 2009, the fare controversy of the Versova-Ghatkopar Metro wouldn’t have occurred, and probably the fares wouldn’t have risen either.

Officials associated with the project said, “The state had asked the Centre to include certain clauses to the amended Act as it was not a complete legislation taking care of the future Metro rails in India. But those points were not included and, hence, all this mess.”

According to a retired government official, the legislation was framed for government-owned Metro rails, not those having private participation — the one in Mumbai has been implemented on the public-private partnership (PPP) model.

“The idea was to add certain words of exception in the Act. For example, the rules would be applicable for all Metro rails, except those implemented through PPP,” said the former official.

This would have ensured that the Concession Agreement inked between the state and private firms is the rule book for the project and not clauses of the Metro Railways Act. This would have also meant lower fares of Rs.9-11-13.

Even the then Chief Minister had appealed to the Centre, but the needful was not done.

Now, once again the state has started the process of asking the Centre to incorporate exceptions for PPP projects in order to protect larger public interest.

The 11.4km-long Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Mumbai Metro corridor was notified under the Metro Railways Act on November 18, 2013, by the union ministry of urban development. Earlier, the project was being implemented under the Indian Tramways Act.