The promotional fare of Rs 10 ended on Monday and the higher rates are now slated to come into force. (Agencies)
Reliance Infra is the major partner of the consortium which floated MMOPL that operates Metro. Government agency MMRDA, another partner of consortium, has disputed the fares.
Lawyers Iqbal Chagla and Janak Dwarkadas of Reliance Infra and MMOPL respectively informed the division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice M S Sonak that they will keep the fares at Rs 10 for distance up to 3 kms, Rs 15 upto 8 kms and Rs 20 for longer journey (upto 20 kms) till July 31.
The High Court then adjourned the hearing to July 23. It also issued notices to the central government and Maharashtra Urban Development Department on the point of formation of Fare Fixation Committee (FFC).
The Court is hearing an appeal of Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) against the single bench order of the High Court denying it the right to decide fares.
The Ghatkopar-Versova Metro route was launched last month. MMRDA had challenged the fare hike by RInfra.
Justice RD Dhanuka had last month dismissed MMRDA's petition saying that as per the agreement between the parties, MMOPL had the right to decide the initial fares till Fare Fixation Committee decided them.
RInfra and MMOPL contended that despite their communication to the authorities in November 2013, the FFC has not been set up as the government has not yet nominated its member on the committee.
MMRDA lawyer Aspi Chenoy stated that FFC will be notified soon and within three months the fares will be decided; till then MMOPL could continue with the fares decided in the agreement.
MMRDA said the consortium had agreed on a structure under which fares were to be Rs 9 (upto 3 kms), Rs 11 (from 3 to 8 kms) and Rs 13 (for more than 8 kms). MMOPL, however, fixed the initial fares at Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 30 and Rs 40.
The single judge, while refusing to stay the fares, had observed that the agreement indicated that MMOPL is empowered to fix the fares till FFC is formed.
Meanwhile, MMOPL said in a statement late in the evening that the reduced fares would come into force from tomorrow and continue till month-end.
"Keeping in view the overwhelming response from the Mumbaikars, MMOPL, has decided not to immediately introduce the notified fare of Rs 10 to Rs 40 and provide huge discount on the initial fare," a company spokesperson said.
"This is highly competitive fare and even lower than the maximum fare as charged by BEST buses of Rs 25 for the same distance (Ghatkopar-Versova)," the release said.
MMOPL has also introduced a flat week-end fare of Rs 5 for children up to 12 years to commute between any two stations. Children `under three feet' will be allowed to travel free of cost.
The promotional fare of Rs 10 ended on Monday and the higher rates are now slated to come into force.