Eyeing about Rs 2,000 crore annually from non-tariff sources, Railways is all set to reach out to big names from the advertising world for spaces in trains, level crossings and areas along tracks besides offering major platforms for installing over 2000 ATMs.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu will launch the non-fare revenue policy, a first in Railways, offering various schemes for revenue-yielding activities including train branding, rail radio schemes and the mega offer of setting up about 2400 ATMs at platforms of major stations across the country early next week. “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,” said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the firming up the non fare revenue policy.
ATMs will be on end platforms or prominent spaces in the circulating area of the station, he said, adding stations will be offered via transparent e-auction process for a long-term 10-year contract. The policy envisages that in addition to the existing identified sites, Railways shall allow advertising at areas hitherto unused such as area along tracks, road over bridges and level-crossing gates.
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The policy will offer out-of-home advertising policy and allow monetisation of railway assets by means of advertising, the official said. Besides, big LED screens will come up at station buildings, platforms, foot overbridges (leading to station area) for advertising under Rail Display Network as part of the new policy. Rail Display Network will initially cover 25 stations including Old Delhi, Varanasi, Jaipur and later on extended to other major stations.
The policy will offer branding of trains allowing internal and external advertisement and product sampling on trains on a long-term basis to big players allowing marketing flexibility thereby leading to higher realisation of earnings.
Advertisement through vinyl wrapping of train exterior (including windows of AC coaches) and inside the coaches shall be allowed under the scheme, the official said.
There will be distribution of sample products free of cost for gauging passenger reaction to the product. However, no sale of products will be allowed in trains, the official said. The train branding packages will be offered through bidding in a phased manner starting with Rajdhani and Shatabdi services.
The policy will also unveil a new scheme – Content on Demand and Rail Radio Policy, which will allow monetisation of entertainment-based services on trains and stations, the official said, adding, these services will be provided through audio video trains and platforms. Provision of content such as movies, shows, educational programs shall be in both paid and unpaid formats.