Oct 1, 2016

Metro stations get ‘new’ names



The naming rights of these stations were auctioned by the DMRC recently
— Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

What’s in a name? A lot of revenue, if you ask the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).

In the last two years, the DMRC has been on a “semi-naming” spree of metro stations, which allows it a lucrative alternate source of revenue stream. Many stations are likely to undergo branding very soon.
Earlier, the only metro station in Delhi with branding was ONGC Shivaji Stadium metro station, which is part of the Airport Express Line. Recently, the DMRC has branded Vishwavidyalaya and ITO metro stations. While the former has become Honda 2 Wheelers Vishwavidyalaya and the latter has become JK Tyre ITO metro station.

Policies

The naming rights of these stations were auctioned by the DMRC. While the corporation refuses to divulge the exact amount it earns from this source of revenue, sources put the amount at approximately Rs.2 crore per annum for each station. According to sources in the DMRC, while policies of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are not restrictive about branding of metro stations, it is a different story in Delhi, which is why no metro stations were branded till recently. After Vishwavidyalaya and ITO metro stations, the next in line is Dwarka Sector 10.

While names on panels inside the trains and during announcements have not been changed, the names have been changed on the façade of the station buildings. The brand names, used as prefix for the station names, are prominently displayed. At Vishwavidyalaya metro station, the colour of the façade is also in tune with the branding. At ITO metro station, the once-clear glass walls of the entry and exit points have also been covered with corporate branding.

Branding of metro stations is quite prevalent internationally and is a good source of revenue generation. The Rapid Metro in Gurgaon was one of the first to auction off station names for revenue. The upcoming Noida-Greater Noida metro rail corporation is also trying to auction station names for corporate branding.

The DMRC first hit upon the idea of renaming stations for revenue in mid-2014 and since then, has been putting up station names for auction. Those winning the bids not only get semi-naming rights for the stations but are also provided advertisement space at the station premises. Other branding activities are also allowed inside the station, including the right to choose a colour scheme to promote the brand.
Source - The Hindu