After several attempts to boost revenue through renting retail space inside metro stations failed to take off, Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) is going to assign an external consultant to devise business plans that can generate non-ticketing revenue. Metro rail recently floated a tender for the selection of a consultant.
According to officials, the consultant will assist CMRL in enhancing revenue from commercial development and tap unutilised potential of CMRL’s assets for non-fare revenue. Among the consultant’s work would be to formulate non-fare box revenue business plans, enhance existing plans and suggest optimum disposal strategy for licensing of retail spaces in metro stations.
The consultant will also have to conduct feasibility study and provide transaction advisory services for existing and new land parcels up to the stage of transaction completion till signing of agreement. Apart from enhancing revenue from advertisements in stations and metro trains, the consultant may also have to identify additional sources to augment revenue, prepare suitable policy and procedure documentation, plan and implement marketing/promotional strategies for maximum reach of CMRL’s commercial proposals.
The effort to appoint an external consultant comes at a time when rental space built in most of the stations remain vacant since metro trains began operations in June 2015. CMRL is also struggling to increase footfalls. At present, 39 of 40 metro stations are operational across 54km.
Except for a few stations like Koyambedu, Alandur, Vadapalani and Airport, the rest including the underground interchange at Central Metro have huge rental space in the concourse and street level lying vacant. While poor ridership is cited as a reason for rental space remaining empty, experts said that renting out space initially at a discounted price would attract retailers to set up shop inside stations.
Recently, CMRL floated a tender to construct small structures to rent out for retailers in its land located between Ekkattuthangal and Ashok Nagar under the elevated viaduct. Construction of a commercial complex at Ekkattuthangal is also underway.