Price Arbitrage at Delhi Metro

Delhi Metro is one of the coolest things to have happened to the Delhi Infrastructure. Traveling is not a hassle anymore. You are saved from the Delhi weather, you save on a lot of time and people don’t spit anywhere and if you can believe, people actually take a bath before boarding Delhi Metro.

I love Delhi and like Delhi Metro not only for the convenience it offers. It also offers a price arbitrage opportunity. Delhi Metro uses an automated magnetic token system for ticketing. You can buy tokens for a single journey or you can buy a travel card valid for longer durations or more number of journeys. These travel cards are available in multiples of 50 bucks and a refundable security deposit of 100 bucks. You can thus pay 150 bucks and get a card that would have a travel allowance of 50 bucks. And yes, Delhi Metro gives a 10% added bonus on the amount you put in. In effect I get 55 bucks worth of travel money if I give them 50 bucks.

And this is where things get interesting. Now if I return this card, I get 100 as the refund and I get whatever amount is left on the card, I get that back too. Basically if I return the card without using at all, I can get 210 for putting 200 upfront. We are talking about a ROI of 5% without doing anything at all.

And if someone has the intent and patience, he can stand there all day long and buy and return and buy and return and so on and so forth. I am not even counting the annualized rate of return that one can make on Delhi Metro.

More details about Delhi Metro are available here.

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