“The concept (of parties on board) came in the way of the work of installations of signals which used to happen after the trains came to a standstill after revenue hours," said an official.
In an attempt to raise funds, the Gujarat Metro Rail Corporation Limited (GMRCL) is planning to re-launch a policy to allow people to organise birthdays and pre-wedding celebrations on metro trains in Ahmedabad.
The “Birthday party and pre-wedding celebrations on wheels” policy launched by GMRCL in August 2019, which was hardly publicised and remained in the confines of its website, was withdrawn due to lack of response. The metro officials said they plan to reintroduce it after June 2020.
“We had brought out this policy in August 2019. We discontinued it in November 2019 last year due to lack of response and due to the pending metro work. However, as non-fare-box revenues will form an important part of our revenues, we plan to reintroduce it after June 2020,” Amit Gupta, Chief General Manager (Corporate Planning), GMRC told The Indian Express on Friday.
“As part of the policy, people can book metro trains to celebrate their birthdays and pre-wedding get together after revenue hours,” Gupta added saying that the company did not get a single booking between August and November 2019. Currently, the metro rail in Ahmedabad operates in only six-kilometre stretch of its proposed Phase-I route which is about 40 kilometers in length.
“We have taken down the policy from our website,” he added. The metro is planned to run between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated the first six kilometers of the metro rail in March 2019 after the construction began in March 2015. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is providing Rs 4,456 crore of funds for the Rs 10,700 crore Phase-I of the project which is under various stages of construction.
GMRC is a 50:50 joint venture of the state and the central government.
“There is only a single train which conducts 16 daily trips between Vastral Gam and Apparel Park metro stations during the revenue hours - 11 am and 5:15 pm. On an average the metro carries only 500 passengers daily. This concept was introduced to add to the revenues,” said another official. For offering its metro train, GMRC would charge between Rs 8,000 and Rs 20,000 for about 50-60 minutes of celebrations on the train that would allow a maximum of 300 people onboard. The charges would go up for subsequent hours of usage. The GMRC, as per the policy document accessed by this paper, would decorate the train with artificial flowers and also provide facilities like musician, temporary, tattoos artists on payment of additional costs on pro rata basis. The users also needed to furnish an undertaking and an indemnity bond stating that the user will bear all costs if any damage is caused to metro property.
“The concept (of parties on board) came in the way of the work of installations of signals which used to happen after the trains came to a standstill after revenue hours. Secondly, an inspection from RDSO (Research Design and Standards Organisation), a body of Ministry of Railways, was due and so we decided to discontinue the project. Trials are currently underway to raise the speed of the metro to 80 kilometers per hour. The speeds will be raised after necessary inspections are completed. So this policy will be reintroduced once these works are done” he added.