The Mumbai Metro has witnessed a steady increase in the number of passengers as well as revenue through fares since it commenced operations in June last year, with the transportation mode being preferred by long distance commuters in the metropolis.
In reply to an RTI query, the Public Information Officer (PIO) of Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL), which operates the Metro, said that in its second quarter last year (July- September 2014) a total 2.33 crore commuters availed the Metro services, through which it collected a revenue of Rs 35 crore.
However, just after an year, the number of commuters went up to 2.34 crore and the revenue collected through fares jumped to Rs 48 crore, a whopping 37 per cent hike over the corresponding quarter in 2014.
Interestingly, in the third quarter of previous year (October-December 2014) about 2.42 crore commuters travelled in the Metro, fetching it Rs 37 crore as revenue from fares, the official said responding to the query made by RTI activist Vihar Durve.
However, in the next quarter, from January-March 2015, the numbers of commuters dipped to 2.05 crore, though the fare revenues swelled up to Rs 42 crore, according to RTI figures.
"The number of passengers and fare box collection is constantly going up, partly due to longer destination passengers more often availing our services," said Debashish Mohanty, director of MMOPL.
The Metro service in Mumbai began on June 8 last year with a flat fare of Rs 10 for 11.4 km long corridor. After a few months, MMOPL introduced a revised fare band of Rs 10-40 using provisions of the Central Metro Act, against the previous fare notified by the state government ' Rs 9 to 13 ' calculated according to the clauses in the concession agreement.
Now MMOPL has, following a fare fixation committee recommendation, proposed to levy Rs 10 to 110 for entire stretch, which has been opposed by not only the commuters but also by the state government, prompting Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadvavis to ask for a CAG report to get an audit of the firm.
RTI figures show that since the inception of the Metro service, it has received Rs 215 crore revenue through fares (which have been revised thrice) but it has spent Rs 668 crore on operating expenses, employees cost, finance cost, depreciation and other heads so far.
Commenting on the RTI query, an MMOPL spokesperson said, "It is a worldwide phenomenon that ridership decreases with an increase in fares. However, it is to the credit of Metro One's excellent operations and services that the commuters have returned to Mumbai Metro and the ridership figures have gone up to the earlier levels. Accordingly, the revenues have also increased."