Pvt metro systems suffer revenue loss, DMRC cuts 'non essential' costs

Topics DMRC | Metro Rail | Delhi

Metro systems get revenue from both token fares and box collections that include advertising and leasing of space at stations to eateries and other commercial activity.
Mass rapid transportation systems have been left high and dry by the pandemic, which has left them grappling with acute financial stress, revenue loss, and inability to service debt.

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has suffered losses to the tune of Rs 1,510 crore in revenue so far, and employees have had their festival allowance cancelled, thus, leading to a flat 50 per cent cut in perks, according to a recent letter.

DMRC, however, is not the only one to bear the brunt of the lockdown. Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and Reliance Infra-run Metro systems have been hit harder as they are relatively smaller and newer.

In order to contain the financial stress, DMRC has deferred “non-essential” expenditure, but perks and allowances have been “rationalised”.

DMRC has reduced perks and allowances of its employees by half, with effect from August. This has been done in view of the extreme financial condition due to non-operation of metro services.

L&T has not announced any paycuts across the group, including its Metro subsidiaries. For Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra), Group Chairman Anil Ambani at the annual general meeting said both the management and employees had agreed for up to 50 per cent reduction in compensation. Executives said the level of cut was in proportion to seniority, and the same applied for its Mumbai Metro project employees.

Earlier, DMRC had requested the Centre to defer loan payments or allow the corporation some relaxation in servicing debt worth Rs 1,100 crore. However, DMRC has not defaulted on loan payment so far.

Loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), amounting to Rs 3,026.21 crore was received during FY19. DMRC made repayment of Rs 622.71 crore in FY19 and interest amounting to Rs 440.92 crore was paid to the Centre.

DMRC has been off the rails for 152 days, and has incurred revenue loss of Rs 10 crore per day. Losses are expected to pile up, with the Ministry of Home Affairs yet to give its green signal for resumption of services.

Metro systems get revenue from both token fares and box collections that include advertising and leasing of space at stations to eateries and other commercial activity.

Mangu Singh, managing director of DMRC, recently said before the lockdown was announced that the Metro recorded 6 million journeys a day.

According to its latest annual report, DMRC generated revenue of Rs 6,462 crore in FY19, including income from traffic operations, real estate, consultancy, and external projects, against Rs 6,211 crore in FY18.

Under ‘traffic operations’, Rs 3,583 crore was earned during the year, against which the expenditure was Rs 2559 crore, thus yielding an operating profit of Rs 1,024 crore.

Revenue from fare box collections for FY19 stood at Rs 3,119 crore and other revenue came in at Rs 3,343 crore.

RInfra’s estimated daily revenue from regular operations stands at Rs 90 lakh. Operations for Mumbai Metro One were suspended on March 21.

An extrapolated estimate pegs its revenue loss at Rs 136 crore so far. L&T operates the Hyderabad Metro rail project. L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad)’s revenue from operations was Rs 587 crore in FY20, according to its annual report (including fare and non-fare revenue).

This translates to Rs 1.6 crore in daily revenue. L&T has lost an estimated Rs 241 crore in revenue because of the suspension in Hyderabad Metro operations since March 22.

In its FY20 annual report, the firm said that the pandemic was expected to have an impact on commuters, additional costs, and real estate monetisation during the end of the financial year. The business is working on facilitating contactless travel and increasing focus on sanitisation of the Metro system.


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