New Delhi: The Delhi Metro’s ridership saw a slump in June, a month after a steep fare hike came into effect, according to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) records.

The average daily ridership of the metro in June was 25.7 lakh. The corresponding period last year, when newer sections were yet to be launched, had seen 27.2 lakh people using the network everyday, the DMRC said, replying to an RTI query.

The slump in June was observed across all the corridors of the 218km-long network. The total ridership came down by around 15 lakh and 21 lakh in the Yellow and Blue Lines in June, as compared to the same period the previous year. In April, 27.5 lakh commuters took the metro on an average daily, while the figure came down to around 26.5 lakh in May, when schools are closed due to summer holidays.

April and May 2016 had logged an average daily ridership of 26.3 lakh and 26.2 lakh respectively. Since 10 May, the new minimum fare is Rs10, up from Rs8, while the maximum stands at Rs50. It will turn Rs60 from October. The new fare structure, Monday through Saturday, is: up to 2kms — Rs10, 2 to 5kms — Rs15, 5 to 12kms — Rs20, 12 to 21kms — Rs30, 21 to 32kms — Rs40, and for journeys of over 32kms — Rs50.

Smart card users get a 10% discount, but that has not contributed towards any substantial rise in the number of cards issued post fare hike. The total number of smart cards issued in March, April, May and June are 4.07 lakh, 3.7 lakh, 3.74 lakh and 3.81 lakh respectively, the metro said, responding to the RTI application filed by this reporter.

However, metro attributed the reduction in ridership, by up to 5%, as “natural". “This much variation is considered natural for any given months or period as a system spread over 218kms, a fluctuation in ridership is always bound to be seen which is dependent on multiple factors like seasons, vacations, strikes or agitations," a DMRC spokesperson claimed.

The metro has been reluctant to divulge ridership data, which it shared with the media without any fuss till April, since the fare hike was effected. The reply to the RTI application came following a ‘first appeal’. Initially, the public information officer of DMRC had refused to share any data saying no such records are maintained in “material form".

The spokesperson claimed that ridership may have fallen marginally, but metro registered an increase in terms of average distance travelled by commuters in the April to June quarter from 16.41kms to 16.59kms.

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