The Metro tariff hike last October seems to have plummeted Delhi Metro’s daily average ridership to pre 2015 levels, which was when the metro ran on fewer corridors spanning 190 km.
Delhi Metro’s total network length has crossed the 250km mark, but the fare hike has caused lakhs of commuters to abstain from using the metro.
As per the Delhi Government records the average daily ridership following the fare hike months has dropped by 15% as compared to pre fare hike months.
In October 2017 an average of 24.5 lakh commuters travelled on the different lines of Delhi metro while in the first weeks of March 2018 the daily average ridership has dropped to 20.11 lakh.
On 14th of March, while the Pink Line was being launched, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal appealed to the Centre to lower the metro fares. In response to this Union Minester Hardeep Puri simply put down the request saying that this was not possible.
On the other hand DMRC was quoted as saying that the fare hike was needed because the Operating Ratio(Ratio of expenditure on maintenance and infrastructure to total earnings) had drastically increased since 2011.For instance the electricity tariffs, which account for a third of the total operating costs had shooted up by 90% in the period from 2009 to 2017
In a claim DMRC stated that metro ridership is registering a steady increase, after a dramatic drop in October 2017. The overall ridership of the Metro increased by almost 70,000 in January 2018 as compared to previous months.
Also following the northwards trend, the average monthly ridership increased by 80,000 passengers in February.
Delhi metro surely has a challenge ahead to maintain and increase daily average ridership, while keeping the costs in control and reaping the impetus from higher fares. Tariff hikes would be inevitable if the Metro has to sustain it self and even break even.
Commuter are obviously not happy with the fare hike but as compared to other means of transport, the Metro is still a preferable, reasonable and quick mode of transport.