Reach 3 likely to be operational with increased fares

Commuters eager to take Namma Metro between Peenya Industry and Sampige Road Metro Stations may have to shell out more as Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL) is all set to upwardly revise the fares.

The present fares on Reach 1 between Byappanahalli and Mahatma Gandhi Road have not been revised since the line became operational in October 2011. Fares were fixed approximately at Rs. 2.14 per km with the minimum fare being Rs. 10, which could take care of just the electricity cost, according to BMRCL officials.

With the November deadline fast approaching, BMRCL authorities are contemplating increasing the fares to meet the increased energy cost. The ready-to-open 9.9-km stretch of Reach 3 and 3a has 10 stations and if the Rs. 2.14 a km fare is maintained, the maximum fare on this line would be Rs. 22.

BMRCL Managing Director Pradeep Singh Kharola told The Hindu that the corporation was definitely planning a fare hike; but refused to divulge the quantum of hike. “The Board [of BMRCL] has to take the decision,” he said. Study is going on about fare hike ahead of commissioning of Reach 3 and 3a between Peenya Industry and Sampige Road Metro Stations, he said.

Corporation’s spokesperson B.L. Yashavanth Chavan said the present fares neither reflected the actual operational cost nor the earnings. They are just enough to cater to the power bills. The cost of operation would be more as the infrastructure created — depots, tracks, stations and train sets — are meant for the whole corridor — East-West and North-South. Unless the entire Phase 1 is made operational, the actual cost of operation (cost per km) and the earnings (earnings per km) could not be ascertained, Mr. Chavan said.

Memorandum

BMRCL had entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) in 2011 to assist the corporation in deciding the fares. The institute would give periodical reports to BMRCL’s fare fixation committee. The fare fixation committee is examining the recent report of ISEC, Mr. Kharola said.

November 15 deadline

Mr. Kharola said he has set the November 15 deadline for completion of all civil works on Reach 3, including stations.

He said, “Work on tracks and signalling is complete and trains are being operated on a trial basis. We are awaiting speed trials by the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) ahead of the oscillation trials and inspection by the Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety (CMRS)”

The Managing Director was still confident of commencing commercial operations on the stretch by November-end. As many as 44 train sets, just six short for the entire Phase 1, have arrived and are undergoing trials, Mr. Kharola added.

According to U.A. Vasantha Rao, General Manager (Finance), the ridership on this stretch is expected to touch 1 lakh a day, as against 20 to 25,000 on Reach 1.

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