Cash-strapped Indian Railways is all set to follow the Delhi Metro in branding its trains and stations in order to raise more revenues.
According to the Times of India, the Indian Railways has prepared a proposal to sell media rights for branding entire trains and stations on a long-term basis. This non-fare revenue policy is still being finalised and is expected to get final approval next week. It will also offer platforms at major railway stations for installing 2,400 ATMs.
Under this plan, companies can purchase advertisement rights on railway platforms, the area along tracks, overbridges and crossings, and both outside and inside a train's bogies. The railways also plans to set up LED screens on station platforms, foot over-bridges and other buildings for advertising. The plan is to cover at least 25 stations in the first phase. The policy also plans to monetise entertainment services in trains and stations.
Indian Railways is expected to offer these branding packages in the form of 10-year contracts through bidding via e-auctions in several phases, beginning with the Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains. Earlier, it was selling these rights on a piece-meal basis. Last year for instance, it started selling rights for vinyl wrapping advertisements on the exterior of four trains, including the Mumbai Rajdhani, August Kranti Rajdhani and the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Shatabdi.
"Currently Railways earns less than 5 per cent of its total revenue through non-tariff sources. Our aim is to raise it substantially through concrete offers," a senior Railway ministry official told PTI.
The Times of India says that the plan was put forward after Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the railways to raise revenues without a hike in passenger fares because of the upcoming Assembly elections in five states. The state-run transporter has a target of earning ₹2,000 crore from non-fare revenues.