For the past few months, Delhi Metro is generating revenue from an unusual source-station names. So while Noida City Center has become Wave Noida City Center, the Vaishali Metro station has become Jagran Vaishali station. Seven stations have been renamed till date and another eight are in the process of getting rechristened. Of course, for a price.
Last year, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation had allowed auction of some station names to generate revenue. The stations which got offers are Noida Sector 18, HUDA City Centre, Guru Dronacharya, Sikanderpur and MG Road. The stations in the process of getting new names include Sarai, Badarpur, Golf Course and Botanical Garden. On the Airport line, Shivaji Stadium station is now called ONGC Shivaji Stadium Metro station. The revenue generated from this is healthy, admits Delhi Metro. While the agency refused to comment on how much each name was auctioned for, sources said it came to over Rs 2 crore annually.
Names are being changed at a time when locals and RWAs are becoming vigilant over station names. For instance, the naming of a station on the newly-opened extension of the Yellow line from Jahangirpuri to Samaypur Badli turned into a political potboiler with the MLA at loggerheads with residents. Badli Mor residents went to court over DMRC naming a station Haiderpur and not Badli Mor. Across town, residents of Aya Nagar have been fighting to get the Arjangarh Metro station renamed.
The semi-renaming of stations, as DMRC calls it, has brought in much-needed revenue, said government officials. Delhi Metro has been asking for a fare revision for years now but to no avail. The central urban development ministry had instead asked Metro to look at other ways of generating revenue.
The Rapid Metro in Gurgaon already follows this practice. It has given out stations to companies that bid the highest and their names are put in the station name. These include Vodafone Belvedere Towers station, IndusInd Bank Cybercity station or Micromax Moulsari Avenue station. At stations under Delhi Metro, the licensee or company will also have the right to advertise products inside the station and can change the colour scheme to reflect its branding.