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Delhi Metro exploring ways to implement free ride scheme for women: Sources

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The DMRC is "exploring ways" to take forward the Delhi government's decision to make metro rides free for women, while keeping in mind the financial implication and technical feasibility associated with the proposal, official sources said Friday.

Managing Director of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) Mangu Singh and senior officials of the DTC and Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMITS) attended a meeting chaired by Delhi Transport Commissioner Rajeev Kumar at the Secretariat on Thursday, they said.

Sources said, the DMRC made a presentation to the transport commissioner offering preliminary plans on executing the proposal.

Announcing the proposal earlier this week, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said that his government will provide subsidy to the three public transporters for providing free rides to women commuters in DTC buses and Delhi Metro.

He had said the proposal was expected to materialise in the next two-three months, extending an estimated figure of Rs 700-800 crore as expenditure for financing the scheme for remaining months of this financial year.

Sources said, the DMRC is "exploring ways" to see how the proposal can be implemented.

However, the financial implication and technical and logistic feasibility of the scheme are factors that will impinge on the execution of the proposal.

"While the government is providing subsidy, the implementation of the proposal will entail logistical cost, nonetheless," a source said.

The Delhi Metro's current operational span is over 336 km with 244 stations, in Delhi and neighbouring cities of Gurgaon, Noida and Faridabad.

The average daily ridership of the urban rapid transit system is about 25 lakh and nearly one-third of the commuters are women.

According to the Economic Survey of Delhi 2017-18, released in March 2018, after completion of Phase-III of DMRC, the ridership was expected to increase up to 40 lakh per day.

The AAP government has claimed that the move will not lead to overcrowding as still there is a "window of 15 lakh commuters".

However, sources said the daily ridership is an average figure and includes both peak and off-peak hours traffic volume. Therefore, with provision for free ride, peak hour traffic might surge suddenly leading to overcrowding.

Kejriwal after announcing the proposal on June 3 had asked officials to study the proposal. The government has also sought feedback from the public.

Officers were given a week's time to prepare a detailed report after which a proposal will be brought in the cabinet, he said.

Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot had written to Principal Secretary-cum-Transport Commissioner Rajeev Kumar on June 3, asking him to take necessary steps to give shape to the proposal.

In a letter to the DMRC chairman, Kumar had sought to know the proposal's financial implication, technical feasibility and modalities and challenges in its implementation.

Kumar also said in his letter that a note in this regard will be put before the Cabinet on June 11.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, June 07 2019. 19:50 IST