Announcements over irritating loudspeakers and long depressing queues at enquiry windows will soon be longer seen at the railway stations.
The Indian Railways have developed a plan to go digitalized at the railways stations and use big LED screens to flash all passenger-related information.
The main idea is to turn railway stations into silent zones like airports and to increase the revenue by advertisement side by side.
LED SCREENS DISPLAYS
The Indian Railways’ directorate has made a business model in which private agencies will be hired to install LED screens on a revenue sharing basis. After it gets implemented, all the information related to the passenger – departure and arrival of trains, tickets availability and others – will be flashed on these big screens that will be installed at every major points on railway stations. Commercial advertisement will be shown simultaneously for revenue. Railways expects to increase its revenue through advertisement up to Rs 10,000 crore by exploiting its rolling stock and real estate. At present the railways make a meagre Rs 300 crore through advertisements.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PILOT PROJECT
According to the plan, railways will set up about 100,000 networked large LED screens at 2,000 railway stations connected by making use of multi-path optical fiber network, having a screen in front of each train coach, in the circulating area, concourse, foot over-bridges, lounges and the waiting rooms. A testing pilot project will be done having about 10 stations, including the ones like Jaipur, Delhi, Bhopal and Varanasi among others. All the two thousand stations will be equipped with LED screens in the next two years. All sign boards, whether located inside or in open spaces, will be visible for twenty four hours from long distances and everything will be environmentally protected.
INCREASE THE REVENUES
As per the railway officials, the initiative would improve the financial health of the railways significantly which would also facing a burden of Rs 31,000 crore after 7th pay commission recommendations comes into action. Currently the Indian Railways make less than five per cent of revenues by non-tariff sources. Across the globe, railway networks earn 10-20 percent of their revenue through non-tariff sources.
OTHER SOURCES OF REVENUE
This is of greater significance as the Railway Minister doesn’t want to increase the freight tariffs or the passenger fares. Instead of that, he wants to focus on generating extra revenue through other sources which include advertisement, modified parcel leasing policy, export of railway equipment, cutting of working expenses and land monetization. For this thing, a new directorate has been created by railways to advertise in rail coaches, also at the track and near stations on a grand scale to increase the revenue significantly from non-tariff sources. The proposed project would be implemented by a consortium which involve RailTel, railways, advertisers and display screen manufacturers. Revenue-sharing model would be used for the project which will benefit all the mails.