Near 100 per cent rise to affect 6,50,000 commuters
By bappaditya paul
Kolkata Metro Railway fares will go up by about 100 per cent with effect from 18 October. The Railway Board has issued an order to this effect and sent it to the Metro Railway headquarters here today. The move will affect 6,50,000-odd commuters who travel by Metro trains daily.
According to the existing fare structure, Metro charges between Rs 4 and Rs 14 in six slabs for a ride up to the full distance of 27.27 km from Dum Dum to Noapara. This will now range between Rs 5 and Rs 25.
That’s not all. The concession granted to prepaid Smart Card users has been slashed to a flat rate of 10 per cent irrespective of the amount recharged. The concession, in the form of additional money value, will be credited at the time of recharging a card.
At present, Smart Card users get a cumulative concession ranging between 20 – 37 per cent depending on the recharge amount, granted by way of additional money value credited at the time of recharge and by giving a concession on every ride undertaken.
In the new fare structure, the fare has been divided into six slabs: Rs 5 (0-2 km), Rs 10 (2-6 km), Rs 15 (6-12 km), Rs 20 (12-21 km), Rs 25 (21-30 km) and Rs 30 (30-40 km). The last fare slab has been decided keeping in mind the proposed expansion of Metro route in the near future, such as the one to Dakshineswar. The Metro now collects the fare in slabs of Rs 4 (0-5 km), Rs 6 (5-10 km), Rs 8 (10-15 km), Rs 10 (15-20 km), Rs 12 (20-25 km) and Rs 14 (25-30 km).
“We have initiated the upgrade work on our fare collection mechanism, necessary for realising the fare as per the revised structure. We shall be working through the Pujas and start charging the new fare from 18 October,” said Metro Railway general manager Radhey Shyam.
The hike will bring the Kolkata Metro fare almost at par with Delhi Metro, which charges Rs 23 for a 25.15-km ride from Dilshad Garden to Rithala.
The hike in fare will give the Kolkata Metro the much-needed revenue support at a time when it is running at an operating ratio of Rs 326.97 as on 31 March this year; meaning, the Metro spent Rs 326.97 to earn every Rs 100. The operating loss stood at around Rs 125 crore during the 2012-13 fiscal year.
As a result of this, the upkeep of the Metro trains and other facilities was getting affected and so were the Metro expansion projects. The last time Kolkata Metro fare was revised was in 2002.
*ADDED LATER: Following passenger outrage, Metro Railway introduced the revised fare on 7 November instead of 18 October as was originally planned. Also they reduced the hike a little facilitating some relief to commuters. For details, read 7 November 2013 post on this blog.
(The author is on the staff of The Statesman, India. This report was first published in The Statesman on 9 October 2013.)