Metro passenger traffic to grow to 7.3 billion in 10 years — turning them into mini-malls


  • People are opting for the metro to escape daily traffic. This has, in turn, accelerated the growth of retail stores across metro stations.
  • The metros rail network has a ridership of over 2.6 billion — and is anticipated to grow to 7.3 billion over the next decade, as per the ‘Catch Them Moving’ report by Knight Frank.
  • This is a win-win for the retail store owners as the travellers are looking for ‘grab and go’ items while in transit.
The many metros stations across India receive over 2.6 billion footfalls every year. As more lines and stations are under construction, these footfalls will thrice over to 7.3 billion in the next ten years, says a report by Knight Frank.

As they grow, metros will turn into a $5.6 billion per annum retail opportunity by 2030. The lease rent for operators itself is pegged at $0.8 billion making transit retail a win-win situation for retailers, says the report called ‘Catch Them Moving’.

The rise of metro malls
Parsvnath Metro Mall at the Inderlok metro station, Delhi

All this thanks to the rising popularity of metros across cities like Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad and Bangalore. Even within the existing 550 operational metro stations across 10 cities, commuters are choosing speed and convenience over private vehicles. People also take the metro to adjacent neighborhoods. With the frequency of travel, metro stations are expected to turn into mini-malls.

“These transportation hubs will provide increased revenues for both the transport hubs and retailers, as well as support the government’s smart city initiatives for transforming cities into engines of economic growth,” said the report.

Food on-the-go
First take-away counter by European bakery Breadworks inaugurated at Trinity Metro station in Bangalore

As these passengers are looking for ‘grab and go’ items while in transit, metro stations are teaming up with quick serve restaurants (QSRs), convenience stores, food courts and cafés to boost revenues.

“Integration of retail with metro stations can transform them into the next retail destinations. There are several consumer and retailer drivers which have led to the emergence of retail in and around metro stations in India,” the report added.

This is a win-win for the retail store owners. These retail stores attract mass footfalls — deboarding from metros. The rising trend of convenience shopping is also becoming popular.

Licensing and lease rental

Three years ago, the Union Cabinet rolled out a fresh Metro Rail Policy that facilitates urban development and cost reduction — thereby opening avenues for private players with its Public Private Partnership (PPP) component.

The metro operators, for instance, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) auctions shops at these metro stations — inviting corporates and agencies to tie up on licensing for a fixed period of time.

In the national capital Delhi, nearly 4.7 million people travel by metro — the highest operational network in the country. This has opened up an even wider range of opportunities. The licensees at Delhi metro stations have now come up with the concept of ‘Metro Malls.’

That means, the developers or the licensees sign a license agreement with the operator to lease it out to retailers. For instance, Pacific D21 Mall at the Dwarka Sector 21 Metro Station in Delhi, which has a daily ridership of 55,000 commuters and accommodates over 100 outlets.

See also:
Retail opportunities at transport hubs may grow to USD 21.6 bn by 2030: Report
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