Even as the Chembur-Wadala monorail is hailed as the country’s first and was launched with much ado, with the state projecting it as a major achievement, the city’s development authority’s efforts to attract companies for advertising on the monorail’s premises have so far drawn a blank.
Not a single company advertised on the monorail pillars and station premises, though the MMRDA had invited bids in September 2013 and provided deadline extensions for submitting proposals.
Although opened to public with great fervour, trains on the elevated Chembur-Wadala monorail, built at a cost of Rs 1,100 crore, are at most times seen running with lean passenger traffic. The corridor, the daily ridership of which ranges from anywhere between 12,000 and 20,000 commuters, has so far failed to attract a sizable number of regular commuters. The MMRDA has now renewed its efforts at bringing companies to advertise on the 8.8-km monorail line with better deals. It has bundled the two in a single contract. Besides, it has also deleted the clause stating the minimum up-front lease payment that the company winning the contracts is expected to pay.
Dilip Kawathkar, spokesperson for the MMRDA, said, “ The two new contracts have been built into one advertising package and now there is no minimum premium that we expect. It is open bidding so companies can quote whatever amount they find viable.” The MMRDA was expecting to raise nearly Rs 25 crore over three years by quoting a minimum premium of Rs 4 crore a year for leasing out pillars and Rs 3 crore a year by leasing out space inside stations, with a 15 per cent escalation every year.
The development authority has made available more than 52,000 square feet of advertising space on 355 monorail pillars and the seven stations with 40 pillars under them.