for the Bandra Skywalk that was up for bid has been awarded to Reliance ADAG's OOH arm, Big Street, for a whopping Rs 79 crore. This gives the company advertising rights to the Skywalk for 10 years.
The bid had attracted 16 players in all, of which six were shortlisted: Times OOH, Supri Outdoor Media, Big Street, Rajdeep Publicity, Jaikumar Associates, and DS Mittal & Das Offshores. Jaikumar Associates and Supri competed for the business with Big Street in the final round, and the latter won it with the highest bid. Apart from gaining the advertising rights for the Skywalk, Big Street will also maintain it, construct toilets for pedestrians and install closed circuit televisions for security.
The 1,300 metre (1.3 km) long and four metre wide Skywalk stretches from Bandra railway station, one of the busiest suburban stations in the city, to Kalanagar. More than a thousand trains operate through Bandra every day, with about five lakh commuters traveling through this station. According to the MMRDA, out of this, 39 per cent commuters approach the station on foot, 32 per cent by bus, 16 per cent by autorickshaws and 13 per cent by other modes. With the development of the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) in the last few years, the commuters from BKC have also increased substantially. Further, Western Railway is developing the Bandra Terminal about 1 km north of the suburban station; operations from this terminal are also increasing every year.
The authorities plan to build at least 50 more such skywalks in the city, at a total estimated cost of Rs 600 crore. Around 17 of these will be constructed by next year. Skywalks are expected to relieve the congestion in station areas, which is caused due to transport interchange activities, passenger transfers between trains, buses, taxis and private vehicles, roadside hawking and vehicular parking. The skywalk, being an elevated walkway dedicated to pedestrians, helps in efficient dispersal of commuters from the stations to strategic locations such as bus stops, taxi stands and shopping areas, and vice versa. As commuters move off the roads around railway stations, it will help decongest the crowded streets.