NEW DELHI: Ad-wrapped trains might soon replace the trademark red bogies of Rajdhanis with Indian Railways ready to issue tender for vinyl wrapping of premier trains to start with. Seen as one of the source of revenue, railways will allow advertisers to buy space on outer areas of trains for advertising.
Initially, railway is offering selected Rajdhani trains originating from Delhi for vinyl wrapping. Delhi-Mumbai Central Rajdhani and August Kranti Rajdhani from Nizamuddin to Mumbai central are two trains where tender for vinyl wrapping are expected soon. Next in line are Shatabdis running in Northern Railways.
Railways plans to offer vinyl wrapping option on all trains in future as according to a study by RITES, a Mini Ratna Central Public Service Enterprise under the Ministry of Railways, advertising on trains has a good potential to increase railways revenue manifold.
“Vinyl wrapping will also save the cost of painting of coaches and easy to maintain. The added advantage is it will catch eyeballs and industry will get a captive audience. We are trying to use all available railways resources to increase revenues. The idea is that railways income should not be solely dependent on freight and passenger fare,” said a senior railway officer.
There have been examples in the past where vinyl wrapping has been done on trains but Indian Railways is now planning to take it in a big way and has plans to wrap over 10,000 trains. RITES in a study has found that railways has potential to earn Rs 10,000 crore a year just by selling space for advertising in coaches, wagons and stations among others. But, Railway feel that the analysis is very conservative and actual revenues from these sources could be much higher.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in his budget speech has focused on exploring non fare revenues for improving ailing railways. A non fare revenue directorate has been created in the Railway Board with a mandate for enhancing revenues by 10 percent to 20 percent from non-tariff sources.
The non-fare revenue directorate would look into areas like advertising at stations, commercial exploitation of vacant land and space rights over station buildings, advertising on coaches, monetization of soft assets, including generation of revenue from websites through advertisements, operation of pay and use toilets in land outside railway stations interactive services in railway premises and tourism.
Railway has huge potential to use its space for advertising as it runs 13000 trains per day on 63,000 kilometer of track and carries 23 million passengers – equivalent to population of Australia.