The CPI(M) City Committee has appealed against hiking the fare of Hyderabad Metro Rail tickets, and urged for a reduction in fares so that ordinary people can avail of the public transit facility.
In a detailed letter to the chairperson of the Fare Fixation Committee, the party’s city secretary M. Srinivas claimed that the fares are already much higher than what was mentioned in the initial agreement with the State government.
“The Managing Director of the HMRL had informed the Central government that the ridership for Metro Rail would reach 17 lakh by 2018, yet it remains below four lakh. Measures should be taken to improve ridership by bringing down the charges and increasing the number of coaches,” Mr. Srinivas said in the letter.
As per the agreement, L&T Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited had received a land bank of 267 acres from the State government and a Viability Gap Fund (VGF) of ₹1,458 crore from the Centre. Yet, notwithstanding the provisions of the agreement, they increased the fare by 71 per cent under the pretext of the Metro Rail Act.
The provisions of the agreement were for operating the Metro Rail in a public-private partnership. The contracting agency had declared that only 50% of the revenue would be from ticket sales, and 45% from real estate. The remaining five per cent would be from advertising.
However, they could develop only 1.3 million square feet of commercial space as against the target of 18.5 million sft., which is a clear failure of the agency in monetizing the benefit it had received from the government, the letter said. Commercially, it has failed to achieve even 10% of the targeted revenue. Transferring the burden onto the commuters is not acceptable, the letter contested.
The party has also demanded that the labour cess along with interest of ₹300 crore due to the government from the HMRL should be duly collected.