I’ve been meaning to tell you about this for over a week, but I was away on vacation, enjoying a laptop-free existence.
Last fall, the Metropolitan King County Council directed Metro to phase out its full-wrap bus advertising program due to concerns expressed by some passengers that their views were obscured and the bus interiors were dark. If the advertising program that was restricted to 25 buses – less than two percent of Metro’s fleet – is eliminated, the agency estimates it will lose $743,000 of revenue in 2008.
“We always strive to be innovative and entrepreneurial to find revenues that help keep bus fares low while increasing our service,” said King County Executive Ron Sims. “That is why I asked Metro to develop a modified wrapped-bus advertising program that still brings in critically needed revenue while addressing the concerns of our customers.”
Under the proposal, only a portion of the bus side windows would be covered. This will provide potential advertisers with enough coverage to justify the premium rates for such advertising, while preserving unobstructed, clear window space along the entire length of the bus for improved passenger visibility and comfort.
I can’t front: I love this idea! At a recent Transit Advisory Committee meeting, I talked with two people who had actually sat on a test model; they both were able to see fine. And I don’t know about you, but I want more service, stops and shelters, so I’m all about pain-free sources of revenue.
Of course, partial bus wraps won’t generate as much revenue as full bus wraps, and not just because less of the bus will be covered. There is currently only one template for wrapped buses, and it’s used by all other agencies that participate in the program. Hopefully, Metro’s model will eventually become the standard (customers in other cities would probably like to see, too), but in the meantime, advertisers who want wraps on King County buses will have to pay for custom designs.
The County Council hasn’t voted on the new proposal yet. I bet they’d like to know what you think. Would you tolerate bus wraps if you could see out the window?