Written byGarima Bora ·
Environment think-tank Center for Science and Environment (CSE) clarified its study on falling ridership of the Delhi Metro wasn't only about trip cost but the total journey cost incurred by commuters, who because of poor integration of different systems, end up paying a lot.
CSE claimed after the fare hike last year, the Delhi Metro has become the world's second-most unaffordable service.
CSE's report drew criticism by the DMRC and Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, who termed it as "misleading and falsifying facts.''
The think-tank clarified that while the Delhi Metro continues to play an important role in meeting commuting demand, the targeted improvement in share of public transport ridership won't happen on its own. Well-thought-out fiscal and other policies for all systems will be needed.
The CSE said if poor integration of different systems is not addressed immediately, Delhi and other cities will continue suffering losses in public transport ridership. People will keep shifting to two-wheelers and cars which isn't acceptable in cities facing serious public health and livability crisis.
The other cities considered in CSE's report were - Buenos Aires, Cairo, Hanoi, Jakarta, Kiev, Manila, Mexico City, and Mumbai.
In Delhi, the percentage of income required to use the metro system stands at 14%. Compared to this, it is 2.9% in Hong Kong, 6.6% in Paris, 5.3% in Beijing, 5.2% in Seoul, 5.7% in Shanghai, and 4.6% in New York, the CSE said.
In response to the DMRC's objections to this selection of the nine cities and suggestion to look at other cities with large metro networks, the CSE said it used the same UBS data to examine the percentage of income spent on rail-based systems in some of these cities.
It found that other cities with larger networks are still far more affordable than Delhi.
"Even London is marginally better than Delhi with the affordability of metro at 13.4%. Thus, the DMRC's argument about Delhi being more affordable than cities with large metro networks does not hold much ground," the CSE said.
"Various studies support the threshold of 10-15% of income that can be spent on transport as an upper cap for a system to be accepted as affordable," the CSE said.
"Using the 15% yardstick, CSE finds that a sizeable number of households in lower income bracket can find it difficult to afford the Delhi Metro on a regular basis," it added.
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