Of nine metropolitan cities across the world that have operational metro systems that charge less than half-a-US dollar for a 10-km trip, the Delhi Metro is the second most costly,The Times of India quoted a study by the Centre for Science and Environment as saying. The Delhi Metro is second after the one in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The study found that after last year’s tariff revision, an average commuter in Delhi spends 14% of their household income on travelling by the metro. At least 30% of commuters spent as much as 19.5% of their income on daily commute. An unskilled daily wage labourer in Delhi has to spend an average of 8% of his income to travel by a non-AC bus, 14% for an AC bus, and 22% on the Delhi Metro.

At a two-day conclave on the state of urban transport systems around the world, experts of the research and advocacy group said ridership had dropped by approximately by 4.2 lakh passengers in 2018 as compared to the previous year, reported India Today.

While the average daily ridership projections made by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation in 2016 stood at around 40 lakh for this year, it has only been around 27 lakh – 31.66% less than the projections.

Gautam Patel, principal consultant in Ahmedabad, and Gaurav Dubey, programme manager at Clean Air and Sustainable Mobility at CSE, said no commuter should have to spend more than 15% of their earnings on transit services, reported the Hindustan Times. In case of lower income groups, the share should not be over 10%, they said.

“There is no doubt that the quality of services provided by the Delhi Metro is good but the fares need to be kept in mind too,” Patel said.

Metro fare revision

In 2017, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation revised fares in May and October, following the recommendations of the fourth Fare Fixation Committee. After the two revisions, the maximum fares escalated from Rs 30 to Rs 60.

Delhi’s Transport Commissioner Varsha Joshi said the fare revisions were needed to improve the quality of the transport network. “The question is, how much fare is affordable for a particular quality if ride?” Joshi said. “Indexing of fares is a possibility, where fares can be incrementally increased indexed to inflation.”