The Centre-nominated Fare Fixation Committee (FFC) on Thursday had a public hearing at the Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL) in Andheri where it interacted with the commuters using the 11.04 km Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar (VAG). Majority of the commuters who participated in the hearing told the committee that they were happy with the current fare structure since it provides good service.
Around 50 people participated in the public hearing where three members of the FFC interacted with the commuters. The majority of the people who participated in the meeting praised MMOPL for the good quality of services offered to the public. The women passengers who participated in the hearing said that the best part about traveling in metro was that they felt much safer in it compared to other modes of transports in the city. A senior citizen, who was also a part of the hearing, said, “The best thing about travelling in VAG corridor is that it gives a good feeling as everything from the infrastructure to the trains is very well maintained. I took my 102-year-old mother and she too was happy with the services.”
Many commuters also claimed that it was because of delay in giving the Right of Way (ROW) by MMRDA to MMOPL that there was a delay in completion of the line resulting into cost escalation because of which the MMOPL had no option but to increase the ticket rates.
Another commuter said, “I don’t think the present ticket rates are high as the money that one has to pay for travelling in a rickshaw and taxi is much higher. Travelling in Metro not only saves money but also a lot of time and Metro ride provides safe and environment-friendly journey.”
RTI activist Anil Galgali, who also participated in the public hearing, appealed that the audit of the VAG metro corridor through CAG will expose the ever-mounting expenses incurred. “If you have a look around the world for Metro construction, the cost incurred for the same has never ever exceeded Rs 150 to 200 crore per kilometer anywhere. But in regards to the ambitious project of the Mumbai Metro, the expenses have been escalated on purpose and are beyond the world standards in terms of cost incurred,” he alleged.
He has also written to the Fare Fixation Committee to conduct an audit of the entire expenses through CAG. If this happens, Galgali is sure the unnecessary expenses incurred will be exposed.
“The public hearing in regards to the fare escalation began on the 11th June 2015. I have also submitted M/s Louis Berger Committee report to the Fare Fixation Committee so that they could study the same and learn that never ever anything in excess to Rs. 150 to Rs. 200 crore per kilometer has been incurred as construction cost. But Mumbai Metro seems to be having incurred escalated cost, which exceeds the world standards. I want the Fare Fixation Committee in turn should ask for audit of expenses incurred through the CAG and publish it and make it public.” Galgali added.