06/01/2016 10:34 AM IST | Updated 29/08/2016 9:41 PM IST

Supreme Court Suggests Delhi's Rich Be Allowed To Book Metro Seats At Exorbitant Rates

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
NEW DELHI, INDIA - JANUARY 1: Long queue seen as people using public transport at Rajiv Chowk Metro Station as the Odd and Even System has prevailed, on January 1, 2016 in New Delhi, India. The odd-even scheme that allows odd and even-numbered private vehicles to ply on city roads on alternate days aims at reducing air pollution levels. All diesel and petrol cars, irrespective of where they are coming from, will have to follow the rules. If a car is coming from out of Delhi and is breaking the odd-even rule, a fine will be levied. The government has deployed hundreds of volunteers and 3000 buses to help traffic police. To clean the Capital's toxic air, only odd-numbered private cars will be allowed on the road on odd dates and even-numbered on even days. Violators face a fine of Rs. 2,000. (Photo by Sanchit Khanna/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

A majority of the noise against Delhi government's odd-even plan to reduce pollution in the city, were from daily commuters who don't take public transport at all. Delhiites, who are either conditioned or irreversibly used to travelling in public cars, found the prospect of taking public transport disturbing to say the least. This resulted in a lot of carping and protests against the alleged curtailing of civil rights by the government. However, with the backing that they were getting, the Delhi government went ahead with the odd-even plan, which seems to have worked smoothly till now.

But that didn't change the fact that some people were still greatly inconvenienced at having to take public transport, especially metros. And it is in common knowledge that it may not be easy to get a seat and have a completely comfortable ride on a metro at peak traffic hours. If you are used to travelling in the comfort of your own car, a metro ride may well be the definition of a nightmare. But the 'rich' who are not used to travelling in metros, have found themselves a great advocate of their cause. Guess who it is? The Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has now suggested that the rich commuters should be allowed to get a 'dignified' travel experience, if they are willing to pay for it. While hearing the appeal of big car manufacturers against a diesel-vehicle registration freeze, the court said that the government could consider getting provisions for premium seats in metros for premium rates.

"Mr Kumar, car owners who are coming (to the Delhi Metro), they must get some space to sit," Chief Justice T.S. Thakur told solicitor-general Ranjit Kumar. "Like, let us say, some of the clients of Mr (Abhishek) Singhvi travel in big cars like Mercedes, Toyota, etc... But when such people are using the Metro, why can't you make suitable arrangements for more space?", Thakur added.

The conversation, notes The Telegraph, escalated from a light hearted suggestion to serious advice quickly.

Thakur went on to say, "You can have premium fares for such persons. Maybe you can increase the fare fivefold for such passengers. For instance, if the fare is Rs 20, make it Rs 100 for such passengers for a dignified place to sit."

Hindustan Times reports: "To make metro travel comfortable for the common man, the bench advised the corporation to increase frequency of the trains. On senior advocate Harish Salve’s suggestion, the bench said the waiting time between two trains should be brought down from 3 to 1.5 minutes."

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