Metro fare hike puts women at risk

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Yash Shukla- 

With the steep hike in the fare of Delhi Metro, 68 percent women in Delhi are likely to choose lesser safe transport, reveals a survey done by Delhi Commission for women.

Khushi, a Delhi University student who travels from Azadpur Metro station to JLN metro station everyday in her first year used to pay the fare of Rs 17 from one side which has increased to Rs 36 now. “ Earlier Rs 200 recharge would last a week but now it lasts for two or three days only.” When asked if she would now prefer Delhi Transport Corporation, DTC buses she replied in positive but said, “Buses are not safe.”

Delhi does not have adequate no of buses. Delhi needs at least   10000 buses whereas it currently has only 4020 buses in the DTC fleet. Due to non-availability of DTC and government buses, women might be forced to look for private buses and other modes of transport which are extremely unsafe. The Delhi gang-rape case of 2012 which had shook the nation completely where a 23 year old student was raped inside a private bus.

In a telephonic interview, DCW Chief Swati Maliwal said that a lot of women use metro and consider metro a very safe mode of transport.“Increasing the amount of fare so much that it goes out of the pocket of most women is unfortunate,” she said.

Criticising the increase in fare she stated that such decisions are going to affect the women of lower strata of the society. “Are we trying to make metro an elitist mode of transport? This is not right,” she said.

Seema, who earns Rs 8000 a month, is planning to leave her job because of the recent hike. “Half of my salary gets spent in fare; it is better that I left my job.)” When asked if she could go by bus she also said that Metro was the safest mode and buses are unsafe for women.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation DMRC has increased twice this year. According to DMRC, it was suffering huge losses since the fare had not been revised since 2009. The DMRC also stated fare hike was justified to meet the input costs and keep providing “world-class services” to the passenger.  According to DMRC, the input cost has increased by over 105% in energy,139% in staff cost and 213% for repair and maintenance. It was also suffering the loss of Rs 378 crore a fiscal.

However, Ms. Maliwal said that she had gone through the fare succession committee report where she found that DMRC had not considered ways to increase non fare revenue. “A lot of metro stations have so much vacant space which could be used for advertisement,” she said.

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