While the state is battling to secure a very affordable fare slab for the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro line at Rs 9-13 against the MMOPL’s demand of Rs 10-40 commuters seem to have reached a near-consensus: they wouldn’t mind a fare hike for the new rail, which they say is a plum ride for all seasons.

73-year-old Airoli resident Natha Arjun More enjoys his first Metro journey. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar73-year-old Airoli resident Natha Arjun More enjoys his first Metro journey. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

For most, travelling comparable distances between the western and central suburbs sets them back them Rs 100-150 in an auto, and more than Rs 20 in a BEST bus. So why not shell out Rs 15-40 for the air-conditioned train, which saves time and provides a safe and hassle-free journey, they ask.

On Friday, the MMRDA had filed an arbitration petition in the Bombay High Court, and made an application before Justice R D Dhanuka for urgent relief in the matter of fixation of Metro fares. The hearing on the case is on June 13.

The development authority filed a case, seeking appointment of an arbitrator as far as the Metro fares are concerned. The authority has claimed that the fares were fixed at Rs 9 (up to 3 km), Rs 11 (from 3 to 8 km) and Rs 13 (for more than 8 km) and were accepted by the consortium. They were specifically mentioned in the concession agreement. However, the consortium has increased the fare to Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 30 and Rs 40 for various distances.

On Monday, the Metro corridor received a good response from the public and many office goers switched to the new rail from the locals, buses, autos and taxis. The two most preferred Metro stations were Andheri and Ghatkopar, since they are well connected to the suburban rail stations on the western and central lines, respectively.