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Is the Delhi Metro Fare Hike Justified? A Price Parity Comparison

If the price of aloo parathas can go up 100% in just three years, why can’t the Delhi Metro fares be hiked too?

Updated
Tech and Auto
2 min read
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The Delhi Metro is one of the fastest modes of transport within the Delhi-NCR region. Don’t believe me, you should watch our 3-way race between a BMW, a cycle and the metro! But that’s not the point. The Metro is raising fares for the second time this year and everyone is crying foul. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation says the hike is needed as its costs have gone up by about 213 percent for repair and maintenance.

Is this fare hike justified? Well, there are two ways of looking at it.

Well, let’s look at what I call the PPI to figure that out. PPI – Parantha Price Index! It is a pretty good measure of inflation in the national capital if you ask me.

Just take the prices of basic aloo parathas at Babu Ram Parathewala in Parathewala gali. In July 2014, an aloo paratha cost Rs 30 each. Three years later, in September 2017, it is Rs 60 for an aloo paratha. That’s a 100 percent increase in price in three years.

In comparison, the Delhi Metro is asking for only a 20 percent increase in fares this year, and a 100 percent increase in fares from the 2010 levels. So if the PPI or parantha index can go up 100 percent in 3 years, the Delhi Metro is increasing fares after 7 years. Fair enough?

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Second, let’s just compare the cost per kilometre of the Delhi Metro with other metro rail systems in India. Delhi metro rail covers 218 kilometres in the NCR region – making it the biggest metro system in India. It carries 27 lakh passengers every day. Its longest line is the Blue Line which covers 56.4 kilometres if you include the extension to Vaishali, with over 50 stations.

For that distance, the maximum fare is Rs 50 at present, making it just 88 paisa per kilometre. Now if the fare is hiked to Rs 60, it will come to Rs 1.06 per kilometre. Is that expensive? Not quite.

However, if you travel shorter distances – say 23 kilometres, which is the distance between Dwarka and Barakhamba road, you will end up paying Rs 40 for the trip, which works out to Rs 1.74 a kilometre. With the revised fare of 50 rupees for this stretch, it will cost Rs 2.18.

Also read: Beware! Delhi’s ‘Political Metro’ Is Speeding

The worst is if you use the metro for just a little over 2 kilometres, it will work out to Rs 10 a kilometre with the revised slab!

Let’s compare it with the Kolkata metro – Kolkata’s 27.2 km metro has a maximum fare of Rs 25, making it only 91 paisa a kilometre. The most expensive fare on the Kolkata metro is Rs 2 a km if you travel five kilometres.

Given the size and reach of the Delhi metro, and fare has not been hiked for 7 years – the two hikes this year kind of compensate for that.

Cameraperson: Abhay Sharma
Video Editor: Kunal Mehra

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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