The Bombay High Court will decide today whether RInfra and Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL) can charge the initial fares of Rs. 10, Rs. 20, Rs. 30 and Rs. 40 for the Ghatkopar-Versova phase of Mumbai Metro.
The division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice B P Colabawalla is hearing an appeal filed by the government agency MMRDA challenging a single-bench order of the court that denied the state government the right to decide the fares.
MMRDA had also challenged the new regular fares declared by Reliance Infra.
Meanwhile, a statement by RInfra and MMOPL (a joint venture between RInfra and MMRDA) said the promotional fares of Rs. 10, Rs. 15 and Rs. 20 will continue till Thursday.
MMRDA’s counsel, Aspi Chenoy, argued that they were bound by contractual obligation and could not charge more. According to MMRDA, the consortium had agreed on a structure whereby the fares would be Rs. 9 (up to 3 km), Rs. 11 (from 3 to 8 km) and Rs. 13 (for more than 8 km). MMOPL, however, set the initial fares at Rs. 10, Rs. 20, Rs. 30 and Rs. 40.
Janak Dwarkadas, counsel for the RInfra, justified the fares saying that they have been incurring loss of Rs. 85 lakh per day as only 2.65 lakh commuters are travelling by Metro as compared to estimated 4.1 lakh.
Chenoy gave a comparative study of fares charged by Metro Rails at Delhi and Hyderabad. To this, Dwarkadas replied that the charges of electricity were much higher in Mumbai.
J J Bhat, counsel for MMOPL, argued that it had asked the authorities in November 2013 to constitute a fare Fixation Committee (FFC). “Till the time the Metro Rail commenced in June 2014, several reminders were sent. However, no steps were taken in that regard,” argued Bhat.