The spiralling of Kochi Metro’s net loss from ₹167 crore in 2017-18 to ₹281 crore in 2018-19 has set officials of Kochi Metro Rail Limited scouting for avenues to increase non-fare-box collection.
According to metro sources, the 32% increase in daily passenger patronage in 2019 as compared to 2018, thanks to the opening of the 5.5-km-long Maharaja’s College-Thykoodam extension, is in itself a sign that ridership and subsequently income would increase with every extension. The over 1-km-long extension to Pettah and the metro’s further 1.50-km extension to S.N. Junction in Thripunithura will further increase the footfall.
The Thykoodam extension resulted in average daily ridership touching 68,000, with weekends witnessing 72,000 commuters relying on the metro. It crossed the 1-lakh mark twice, including the Christmas-New Year season. But the ridership was well short of the 2.75-lakh mentioned in the metro’s detailed project report. The ridership in 2019 was 88,83,184 till September 3. It was 77,14,836 from September 4 to December 30.
“The increase in the number of commuters has resulted in the metro achieving operational profit. Still, the 23.5-km-long metro is incurring approximately ₹10 lakh net loss per day.
The loss was about ₹20 lakh in 2017, when the 12-km Aluva-Palarivattom stretch was commissioned. It is here that non-fare-box revenue or non-ticketing revenue gains relevance,” metro sources said.