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Maintaining Street Furniture

Waiting at the Mumbai bus stops does not often make the best of experiences. We find the sun or rain, dug pavements or garbage at the scene. Yet, it was nice to see a bus shelter getting a quick wash during my recent visit to Bandra-Kurla complex. As we (the people at bus shelter) were waiting for buses, two men accompanied by a supervisor ensured that each and every corner of the shelter from benches to poles was cleaned. The van parked nearby was equipped with jet spray, scrubber wipers and brushes of various sizes. The entire cleaning act took just 15-20 minutes.

Beautiful roads lined with trees and well designed buildings may not often be enough to make a city glamorous. All over the world, the focus is now also on high end outdoor advertising and specially fabricated designer street furniture like benches, dustbins, kiosks and facilities like bus shelters and toilets. Outsourced to private agencies on a build-operate-transfer basis by the local authorities, the former design and install bus shelters and street furniture free of charge in exchange for the right to display commercial advertising on them. The system of maintaining street furniture via advertising revenue helps local authorities provide state-of-the-art public services at no cost to the public.

The van, I saw near the bus shelter belonged to JC Decaux Advertising India Pvt. Ltd which has provided street furniture in Mumbai and Delhi, as well as Advertisement formats & kiosks at the Bangalore airport. The company bagged the contract from MMRDA (Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority) for setting up 120 bus shelters across Bandra-Kurla Complex, Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link road and the Eastern Express Highway. “We have already built 70 bus shelters and the remaining 50 bus shelters will be constructed soon in the coming months. The 10-year contract for which JC Decaux has an agreement include not just setting up of the bus shelters but also their maintenance until the end of contract period,” said Pramod Bhandula, Managing Director of JC Decaux, India.

“From design selection to the execution of the site, we aim at excellence. Our furniture is designed to ensure that it matches with the ambience of the city. Our sleek designs offer ample scope to execute world class innovations. These bus shelters are designed by the team of experts of JC Decaux Singapore, to suit the environment, weather condition, aesthetics of city and other effective factors of Mumbai. The street furniture is manufactured using the high quality steel and maintained to the highest standard. Maintenance and cleaning are given priority at the design stage itself. This street furniture is capable of offering simultaneously advertising effectiveness, aesthetic qualities and public service.”

French company JC Decaux is a pioneer in street furniture concept and is the market leader in providing innovative outdoor advertising formats and transport advertising. The company believes the quality of service maintenance is an essential part of the business. And none of its activities is sub-contracted, making the company completely accountable and dedicated to each activity. Currently more than 3,500 employees worldwide are responsible for keeping the street furniture in pristine condition.

To ensure that the furniture is maintained well, JC Decaux’s maintenance team in Mumbai is periodically given training at the head-office in Delhi. “Our cleaning vans are custom-made, equipped with all the tools, equipment and a water storage tank to cater to the daily needs of cleaning.”

The van has built in water pump to generate the high pressure flow of water to remove stubborn stains and spots of dirt and dust. “We have two types of cleaning services. Detail cleaning and express cleaning. Cleaning vans perform detail cleaning whereas individuals are deputed for express cleaning. The entire day operation is supervised by trained and experienced supervisors. Our cleaning process is devised for a two day cycle. Three cycles are completed in a week. It means that each bus shelter is cleaned every alternate day. Second day, it is maintained by express cleaning. We at JC Decaux believe, in a philosophy that maintaining and keeping our street furniture clean, is our social responsibility even if it costs high. Revenue generated from advertisements placed on these furniture bears the cost of maintenance.”

The group is concessionaire of New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) since 2007 for 200 bus shelters. JC Decaux is trying to bring in more innovative street furniture to India. After having tried out things such as information panels at the back of bus shelters, the company is exploring opportunities to use designer dustbins, city information panels, seating benches and various other forms of street furniture.

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