You may be familiar with branding of football clubs like Kingfisher East Bengal or McDowell’s Mohun Bagan. Soon, Kolkata’s Metro Rail stations could be up for similar branding.
The Metro is the first in the country and records close to 7 lakh footfalls every day over its 27.2 km stretch.
As part of its attempt to cut losses by increasing non-fare revenues, Kolkata Metro is working on a policy to let corporates brand all its 24 stations --- from Noapara in the north of the city to Kavi Subhash in the south.
“The new scheme is called ‘Own Your Station’. Private companies, on payment of a sizeable sum, will get advertisement rights in metro stations and do a variety of branding exercises. They can also brand the stations with the name of the corporate prefixed or suffixed to the existing name,” said M C Chauhan, general manager of Kolkata Metro. Tenders would be floated soon, he revealed.
A few years ago, several prominent football clubs walked the same path to raise money. Thus, East Bengal (founded in 1920) was called Kingfisher East Bengal and Mohun Bagan (set up in 1889) was known as McDowell Mohun Bagan Athletic Club.
Kolkata Metro, the first underground mass rapid transit system in the country which started operations in 1984, is incurring massive losses. It is believed that for every Rs 100 earned, Kolkata Metro spends around Rs 265.
At Mamata Banerjee’s instance, during her stint as railway minister, several stations were renamed after eminent personalities of Bengal. Tollygunge station became Mahanayak Uttam Kumar. A few other stations, including Garia Bazar, Bansdroni and Birji were renamed Kavi Nazrul, Masterda Surya Sen and Shahid Khudiram respectively.
Metro officials expect that the new plan will offer attractive branding opportunities for corporates to get top of the mind recall as the metro stations are always prominent in the city’s millions of commuting public.
No other mass rapid transit system in the offers such an opportunity, they claimed.
Incidentally, a few new metro lines are under construction in Kolkata all of which are suffering time and cost overrun. If the same branding exercise is extended to all of them, companies will get a huge opportunity to project their products and services.