Shop till you drop

Shop till you drop


Shop till you drop

The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) is going all out to convert the available space in and around the Metro stations into something useful.

Efforts are being made to make them attractive. The aim is to make them the preferred destinations for those who want to shop or even simply hang out. 

 The BMRCL has invited Expression of Interest (EOI) for licensing the spaces at either side of the MG Road Station, namely the erstwhile Plaza Theatre entry and the South Parade entry. Nearly 26,000 square feet of spaces is available for retail outlets. “As MG Road is the high street of Bangalore, we felt that we could go the EOI route to gather information from interested parties to understand their individual need and then incorporate the general need into a request for proposal,” explains UA Vasanth Rao, general manager, finance, taxation and resources (BMRCL). 

 Vasanth hopes to introduce a culture called ‘retail in transit’, where retail outlets at the Metro station directly serve the commuters and add to the popularity of the place. Explaining what ‘retail in transit’ means, Vasanth says, “The retail spaces will cater to the daily needs of the commuters so that they don’t need to go that extra mile for their daily needs. We have designed our tender to have pharmacy, laundry, repair shop, newspaper and gift shops, florist, bread and grocery shop, quick serving restaurant, coffee shop, vending machines and the like.”  

Initially, the BMRCL never had plans to rent its spaces out for commercial purposes but Vasanth explains that the Metro Rail Project cannot survive through fare box collection alone to sustain and repay its debt. “It has to depend on non-fare box revenue as well. In India, the Metro Rail Project generally considers about 15 per cent from non-fare box revenue as a percentage of the total fare box revenue.

 Internationally, this percentage is even higher. Non-fare box revenue not only helps to cross-subsidise the train fare but also in servicing the interest and debt component of the project,” he adds.  

This non-fare box revenue generally comes from the sale of advertisement and retail space within the station boundaries and property development in large parcels of land, if acquired. 

   “Since Metro stations have a large and regular footfall, advertisers generally prefer stations to display their products and services. If advertisements are correctly positioned within the station, they brighten up the place,” shares Vasanth. 

The spaces below the stations have become a popular choices for youngsters and families to simply pass time. Vikram, an advocate, welcomes the idea of having more interactive spaces within the stations. “You can get everything you want under one roof. You could even travel to your respective destination after the required purchase. It’s a great idea,” thinks Vikram. 

Sumathi, a housewife, says that although Metro Rail began as a joy ride, it has become a popular choice of transport for short distances. “A mall like atmosphere in Metro stations is a great proposal. I could pick up whatever I want and return by the Metro. I can save money and travel time as well,” she sums up.