The BART Board of Directors on Thursday will consider revenue-generating proposals that would use space in and around trains for new advertising opportunities. The idea is to raise revenue to help maintain and improve service and provide some additional amenities for riders. BART is facing a projected $7.5 billion capital funding deficit over the next 30 years.
BART already contracts with a vendor, Titan Advertising, that manages the advertising posters that you see on trains and on the walls of stations. Those ads brought in more than $6 million in revenue in 2009. But BART’s use of advertising has been far more limited than that of some other transit agencies, which have used electronic video ads on trains and in stations, naming rights to stations, billboards on rights-of-way and massive advertising wrap-arounds on trains. (BART has used train wraps on an occasional, limited basis with promotional partners – such as one recent display for the musical “Wicked” – but has not sold train wraps to commercial advertisers before.)
BART will be looking at the pros and the cons of these new potential advertising revenue sources. The benefits include generating revenue to help offset rider costs for running the system, and providing some entertainment and BART news and information for riders if video screens were installed – catching sports scores or news headlines could make a ride more interesting, even with some ads mixed in. Drawbacks could include aesthetic impacts, and some riders’ preferences not to be exposed to more advertising.
BART staff evaluated 17 possible concepts and filtered the list down to five:
- Station information monitors
- Train information monitors
- Station co-naming rights
- Right of way opportunities
- Train exterior opportunities
Details of the presentation that the Board will hear can be found in the BART Board of Directors section of the website; choose the meeting for Thursday, September 23, and click on "agenda" to download the agenda and presentation titled "Revenue Enhancement Opportunities." The item on Thursday’s agenda is for information only; it is not expected that any action will be taken at this point.
Next steps in the process, depending on guidance from the Board, will be to identify resources needed to carry out a plan; soliciting proposals; returning to the Board for approval; and a testing and evaluation period to confirm the viability and customer reaction.
If you would like to send feedback on the proposal, use the comment form.