Apr 20, 2014

Station Branding: Mumbai Metro e-auctions Naming Rights for 12 Stations on Versova-Ghatkopar stretch

मुंबई Mumbai: Looking beyond traditional sources to raise money and bringing association of advertising-branding with metro projects much closer, Mumbai metro phase one project will be the second urban infrastructure project in the country to use station branding for non-fare box revenue collection. Expected to be soon operational, the phase one line of Mumbai Metro between Versova to Ghatkopar is currently e-auctioning naming rights for 12 of its stations.

Gurgaon Rapid Metro built by Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) that started in November 2013 was the first metro project to auction naming rights for four of its station.

At a time when major cities in the country are building metro projects, station branding could fuel the non-tariff revenue generation. Most metro projects in the country are currently built by partnership of state and central government with only few like Hyderabad Metro that have private players (Larsen and Toubro). In a country where populist compulsions demand lower fares, the non-fare box revenue generation becomes crucial for the success of any metro project.

The globally successful station branding strategy, however, has just taken off in the country and metro operators have kept the expectations low. For example, Mumbai Metro phase one project built at a cost of Rs 2,356 with a concession period of 35 years expects only about 5-10% of its revenue to come from non-fare box collection, out of which about 40% is expected to come from advertisements and station naming rights, said a spokesperson for Mumbai metro.

Following the global trend, the contracts are awarded for a minimum of five years which can be further extended by five years. Sources close to the bidding process said the rights were sold at about Rs 2-6 crore for each station for one year and the bidding has got a very good response so far. Under the station branding, the name of the private company will prefix the name of the station and the company would be awarded rights for 13 elements like key areas at the station, pamphlets and brochures, on the website and during announcements.

Similarly, Gurgaon Rapid Metro expects about 10-15% of its overall revenue to come from non-tariff avenues, about 50% of which comes from station branding. The contract period is about 3-5 years and players like Vodafone, Micromax, Airtel and Induslnd Bank have branded the four stations. In the coming years, non-fare box revenue is expected to jump to 30-40% as the ridership and network expands.

There are also players who refuse to toy with the idea. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation touted as most successful example of metro project in the country has abstained from using the concept. With an operational network of 189 km, its skepticism that has held DMRC back. The ‘excess presence’ of private players can undermine the brand of DMRC, said a senior official of DMRC on condition of anonymity. He further argued that the idea was discussed some time ago but was not thought to be viable, along with the proposal of advertising outside the metro coaches.

Despite abstention from station branding, DMRC earns about 65% of its revenue from non-operational activities like consultancy, retail, real estate , advertisements, bank deposits etc.

But the increased reliance on non-fare box revenue generation including station branding is not without its risks and there are precedents of failure too. Delhi Airport Expressline expected about 70% of its revenue to come from real estate and retail development, the expectation failed to materialise and Airport Expressline is currently a loss making entity with a monthly loss of about Rs 4 crore. R-Infra (private partner) exited the first urban infrastructure PPP project in the country citing breach of concessionaire by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.

But as the engagement of private players in urban infrastructure increases, the pressure to break even at the earliest and churn profits will only increase the reliance on non-fare box revenues. For example, the upcoming 72 kilometer long Larsen &Toubro Metro Rail Hyderabad Limited project is based on a revenue model of 50% from passenger fares, 45% from property development and 5% from advertisement and other miscellaneous sources. No indication has been given that the project will use station branding.

Globally, governments and metro operators have made much more money through the concept of station branding. Dubai Metro was the first urban public infrastructure project in the world to raise money by selling station naming rights to private players. In the first round held in 2008, it raised about Rs 300 crore after selling station naming rights for 23 of its 47 stations. The model was soon followed by metros in cities like Chicago, Boston, Houston, London, Philadelphia, Montreal, Rio de Janeiro and Rapid Metro Project in Gurgaon.

Source..Rail News

Waltair Railway Division chugs in Highest Growth in 2013-14 fiscal

विसाखपटनम Visakhapatnam (VSKP): Waltair Division of the East Coast Railway achieved its highest growth ever with a total earning of INR 6265.28 crore in 2013 to 2014 fiscal, up 11% from the 2012 to 2013 fiscal.

Participating in the 59th Railway Week celebrations to commemorate the chugging out of the 1st train on April 16th 1853, between Bori Bunder and Thane, Mr Anil Kumar, divisional manager of Waltair, said that the division achieved the feat due to the hard work and dedication of thousands of railway staff across the division. Explaining the performance highlights for 2013 to 2014, he said that on the freight loading front, the division had achieved an originating loading of 52.56 million tonne, making it one of the few in the Indian Railways to have an originating loading in excess of 50 million. The earnings on account of loading were INR 5844.35 crore, 11% more than 2012 to 2013 earnings mainly due to increase in loading of iron ore, gypsum, alumina and steel, among others.

Meanwhile, the originating passenger traffic in 2013 to 2014 was 33.80 million, which was 3% higher than the pervious year’s traffic of 32.94 million. Correspondingly, the originating passenger earnings in 2013 to 2014 stood at INR 366.51 crore, 17% higher than the 2012 to 2013 earnings of INR 312.96 crore.

In order to clear the passenger rush, especially during holidays and weekends, a total of 87 special trains were run for 445 trips and 168 extra coaches attached to various express trains running through the division.

In order to meet the increased passenger traffic, direct train services to different destinations from Visakhapatnam, including five new trains, were also started in 2013 to 2014 apart from increasing the frequency of 4 pairs of trains.

Source..Rail News

20th April: SCR Reservation System to completely shut down for 3 Hours

The passenger reservation system will be shut down for modernisation on April 20, 2014, between 11.30 am to 12.30 pm and 3.00 pm to 4.30 pm

सिकंदराबाद Secunderabad (SC): Rail passengers in the South Central Railways region will have to put up with some inconvenience when the passenger reservation system is completely shut down for modernisation on April 20, 2014 between 11.30 am and 12.30 pm and 3.00 pm and 4.30 pm.

This means the reservation ticketing system, checking of PNR status and refunds of tickets will be crippled during those hours. The SCR regretted the inconvenience and said in a press statement, “The Computerised Passenger Reservation System (PRS) is being technologically upgraded for the purpose of archiving ticketing data.

Towards the same, backup systems have been commissioned and are undergoing field trials. As a part of these trials, the online testing of the systems will be undertaken. The testing necessitates total shut down of the PRS between 11.30 am to 12.30 pm and 3.00 pm and 4.30 pm on 20th April, 2014.”

Tickets will not be issued at reservation counters for the entire South Central Railway (SCR) Zone or on the internet for trains originating on the South Central Railway, Southern Railway and South Western Railway Zones. However, online ticketing for trains originating in all other zones will not be affected.

No PNR and other related inquiries will be possible and there will be no refund of tickets through the PRS system. The refund will be arranged manually across the counters. Also no Current Day Booking (CDB) facility will be available during these hours.

Source..Rail News

Bilateral Railway Talks between Delhi and Dhaka to begin Monday

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi: A three-day India-Bangladesh Inter-Governmental Railway Meeting (IGRM) will begin in Dhaka on Monday to review the railway cooperation between the two countries.

The meeting, held annually to discuss railway cooperation, will also discuss ways and means to improve connectivity and services. Freight train operations and the feasibility of introducing container train services between India and Bangladesh will also come up for discussions at the meeting, said an Indian High Commission release on Saturday.

Shah Zahirul Islam, Additional Director General (Operations) of the Bangladesh Railway, will lead the Bangladesh side while A.K.Maitra, Additional Member (Traffic), Railway Board, Ministry of Railways, Govt.of India will lead the Indian delegation to the meeting.

Measures to make the travel by Maitree Express more convenient and comfortable, re-opening of old rail connectivity points between the two countries such as Birol (Bangladesh) – Radhikapur (India), Chilahati (Bangladesh) – Haldibari (India) and construction of new connectivity points such as Akhaura-Agartala are also likely to be discussed at the meeting.

Source..Rail News

Thane Railway Station celebrates 161 years of Service

थाने Thane (TNA): Thane Station completed 161 years on Wednesday. Railway officers and station staff celebrated the day with pomp.

Nandkumar Deshmukh, President of the Thane Railway Passenger Association, said, “The first railway line in the countryran between Mumbai and Thane on April 16, 1853, making Thane the oldest railway station in the country. It is of historical value, which is why, celebrating this day is so important.”

Kanchan Pingle, 32, a regular commuter on local trains, said, “Thane station having completed 161 years is definitely a big deal, but we still have a lot of complaints about the railway service.

There are issues of security in the ladies’ coach and on platforms, and trains usually running late, among many others. Commuters claim of problems involving of bad hygiene, security and rail accidents.

Deshmukh, when asked about these commuter complaints, said, “We have spoken to the railway department about this.

It is unfair to Thanekars, as Thane is one of the most populated stations in the city. They deserve better infrastructure. We will definitely look into this.”

The Thane Railway Passenger Association has demanded the oldest railway engine to be placed at Thane Station, to highlight the historical value of the station.
Source..Rail News





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