Airport line commuters priority for Delhi Metro

New Delhi, July 1 (IANS) Taking over operations of the 23-km Airport Metro Express Line (AMEL) Monday, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) said its priority was not revenue but to run the service without inconveniencing commuters.

“As soon as DAMEPL (Delhi Airport Metro Express Pvt. Ltd.) had given notice on June 27 that they cannot run the AMEL, our first concern was to run the service from July 1 without causing any inconvenience to people and later look into increasing the revenue of the line,” Sharat Sharma, director (operations) of Delhi Metro, said here.

Talking about the operational cost of AMEL, Sharma said, “As per the last month’s balance sheet, the operational cost of AMEL for a month is Rs.7 crore and the revenue is Rs.3 crore.”

“We have just taken over the operations. DMRC has to look into the contracts issued by (DAMEPL) and we will see what to do to increase the revenue,” Sharma added.

“We cannot replace the staff overnight. They will work with us for another month, then we will decide on deputing our own staff for operations. As of now Delhi Metro has replaced the management, but the staff will be the same. We will pay their salary,” Sharma said.

Services on the 22.7-km corridor began as usual at 5.15 a.m. Monday under the DMRC’s supervision.

The Airport Metro line was built at a cost of Rs.5,700 crore ($1.2 billion at the then exchange rate) as a public-private project. DMRC had constructed the structure and a consortium led by Reliance Infra was to operate and maintain the line for 30 years.

A few months after the line came into existence, serious defects were allegedly found in the structure of the Metro corridor. As a result, operations had to be suspended for a few months in 2012.

The Airport Metro ferries over 15,000 people daily. Some 70 percent of the travellers head to and from the airport.

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