The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) is all set to slash the discount on the base ticket fare it had offered from the earlier 15% to just 5%. The move is expected to mop up an additional revenue of Rs 20 crore a year.
The slashing of discount is being announced nearly a year after the transport utility hiked the minimum balance in the smart card from Rs 8 to Rs 50. Currently, about 62% of Namma Metro’s 4 lakh daily travellers use the smart card. These commuters pay 15% less than what those who buy token and travel in the Metro.
The BMRCL cited operating expenses, especially after inducting more six car trains, as the reason for the hike. Officials also estimate the net cash loss to be at Rs 60 crore in 2019-20, up from Rs 20 crore it had incurred in the current financial year. The yearly loss has been increasing as BMRCL has started paying interest on the total loan of Rs 5,700 crore it had borrowed from domestic and international lenders for the 41-km Phase II project.
“It is heartening to note that 62% of the commuters have patronised smart cards,” the BMRCL said in a statement. They also informed that the base fare stands unaffected.
While some criticised the move to slash discount on the smart card users, others did not mind paying more for using the Metro services. “The fare in Metro is already high. There are people who travel in the bus just because its cheaper although they could use the Metro services that are faster,” said S. Rammurthy, a resident of Kengeri. Shiv Prasad, a frequent user of Namma Metro said he does not mind paying extra as Metro offers a comfortable and faster service. Citizens group Citizens for Bengaluru was, however, against the move. “In order to encourage people to use public transport, the fares should be brought down,” he said.