MTA Unveils Fully Wrapped Shuttle Train

The topic of subway advertising has come up on this blog many times. As I have noted on numerous occasions, the MTA has continued to look at ways to bring in much needed revenue through advertising. They feel the opportunity is there to maximize revenue by thinking outside the box & coming up with more unconventional means of advertising to bring in revenue. One of those unconventional ideas was to have a 42nd Street Shuttle Train wrapped in advertising inside & out. This idea has come to reality as the MTA unveiled the first fully wrapped shuttle train 6 days ago. Here is a press release talking about it:

Metropolitan Transportation Authority Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Elliot G. Sander today announced a series of innovative advertising strategies to increase revenue generated by ads in the MTA’s transit system. Sander was joined by History’s™ Senior Vice President, Marketing, Chris Moseley, in unveiling the centerpiece of the initiative, the first fully-wrapped MTA NYC Transit subway car. Three cars will be fully-wrapped, inside and out, with a promotion for History’s™ television series “Cities of the Underworld” for the month of October.

“We have had tremendous success growing our advertising revenue over the past decade as advertisers have taken advantage of booming ridership to reach record numbers of New Yorkers,” said Elliot G. Sander, MTA Executive Director and CEO. “In light of the current fiscal crisis, we are pushing the envelope by introducing new advertising strategies that could generate millions in additional revenue for the transit system.”

Over the past ten years, revenue derived from the sale of advertising in the MTA system has increased dramatically – from $38 million in 1997 to $106 million in 2007. A main goal of MTA Real Estate is to continue this growth by working with our various advertising contractors to develop new and vibrant advertising platforms throughout our system. In releasing the agency’s preliminary financial plan in July, Sander committed to exploring new advertising revenue sources. The result of that promise was a multi-pronged strategy developed in consultation with MTA’s subway advertising contractor, CBS Outdoor, and released today as a pilot project.

The primary feature of this new effort is History’s™ “Cities of the Underworld” promotion, planned for the month of October, which will employ a large-form vinyl display of creative promotional graphics on the interior and exterior walls of a Times Square Shuttle train. This will be the first time that a subway car has been fully wrapped in New York City.

“Opportunities like this exciting promotion for “Cities of the Underworld” help us to create a captivating experience and convey to consumers the immersive look and feel of this television series,” said Chris Moseley, Senior Vice President, Marketing, for History™. “We were looking for creative ways to engage commuters with this unique series and to feel the underworld right in the heart of New York City; the wrapped Shuttle train was a perfect fit.”

As part of this October initiative, CBS will employ three additional display strategies. First, the staircase at the Grand Central end of the Times Square Shuttle will be fitted with vinyl displays. Second, one of the remaining Times Square Shuttle trains between Grand Central and Times Square stations will include exterior panel displays. In addition, these exterior panel displays will also be posted on trains that move through Grand Central Terminal and Times Square stations (numbers 1, 3, 4, and 7 trains). And, third, the turnstile arms in the Shuttle fare control areas at Times Square and Grand Central Stations will be equipped with ad covers.

In the future, when able to be sold as a single package, these strategies will create a dramatic new symbiotic station advertising product that will command a premium above any other display sold on its own. Such a premium package will generate an additional $1 million per year in advertising revenues for the MTA from the Shuttle alone. If this test at Grand Central/Times Square stations is successful, other high-traffic stations could easily be included for similar sales packages.

In addition to the above efforts in the GCT/Times Square Area, in the first quarter of 2009 Times Square Shuttle tunnel will also become the home of the first in-tunnel advertising installation. The shuttle riders will be able to view a full motion video presentation through the window of the shuttle car. The MTA is also planning to pilot test a digital dominated station concept at two of the NYCT stations, Grand Central Shuttle Station and 42nd and 6th Avenue Station mezzanine (Bryant Park).

To further expand the advertising revenue base, MTA in partnership with Titan Outdoor (its MTA bus and commuter rail advertising contractor), will be pilot testing digital advertising on one of its NYCT buses and, if successful, hope to expand the program to approximately 200 buses. In addition, a similar digital advertising pilot test is planned for in car commuter rail displays in the near future.

The MTA will realize over $125 million in 2008 in advertising revenues. If these new initiatives are implemented on a permanent base, the MTA expects these revenues to grow substantially.

Click here to see some pictures of the fully wrapped shuttle train.

New York Daily News transit reporter Pete Donohue had his own spin in this report:

A shuttle train running between Times Square and Grand Central Station has been turned into a billboard on rails.

The train’s exterior is plastered with an ad for the History Channel – the first campaign of its kind in the city’s subway system.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials Thursday will unveil the train, which will run as a pilot program before officials decide to do similar campaigns on the shuttle or elsewhere in the system.

Click here for the complete article.

As far as more advertising in the subway, I will reiterate my feelings from an earlier post:

The thought of advertisements dominating the transit landscape conjures different emotions depending on who you ask. I for one am not bothered by the thought of more advertisements if it brought some financial relief to the agency. While the thought of a branded subway car is not the most appealing thing, I can look past it as the agency’s finances are more important than what I feel visually as a transit buff.

I do wonder about one thing though. Is the MTA doing enough to capitalize on the advertising opportunities? While it is nice that the agency projects higher earnings this year, the difference from last year seems small from what it was from 2006 to 2007. With the amount of subway stations alone, I would think they should make more than $4 million from the previous year. When you factor in the space from their buses, commuter railroads & such, the # should be even higher. Hopefully this will be the case in the near future.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA Officially Unveils Anti-Sexual Harassment Ad Campaign

In August I wrote a couple of entries on the MTA’s proposed anti-groping/sexual harassment ad campaign/public service announcements. I first took them to task when they decided against going through with the ad campaign. I later thanked them for having a change of heart & going through with their initial plans. Well I can now say they have officially unveiled the new ad campaign. Lets first take a look at their press release in regards to this topic:

MTA New York City Transit’s latest public service campaign has been designed to combat sexual harassment in the subway. This educational message features subway car cards and brochures aimed at encouraging victims to report incidents of sexual harassment and informing them of the best ways to stay safe. The message is clear: “This type of behavior does not have to be tolerated by customers and is viewed by the NYPD and NYC Transit as a very serious crime.”

The SubTalk car cards, which began appearing in the subway during the week of September 15 read: “Sexual Harassment is a Crime in the subway, too – A crowded train is no excuse for an improper touch. Don’t stand for it or feel ashamed, or be afraid to speak up. Report it to an MTA employee or police officer.”

“After much thought and discussion on the subject, we have come up with a message that we feel sets the right tone and provides customers with the information they need to respond to this type of criminal behavior,” said MTA NYC Transit President Howard H. Roberts, Jr.

“NYPD officers assigned to the subways have helped drive crime down to record lows in recent years with the help of the riding public,” said NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly. “The Police Department is determined to continue crime suppression, including sexual-related crime and misconduct, with the public’s continued cooperation and with the aid of NYC Transit’s important informational campaign.”

200,000 bilingual English /Spanish brochures, containing more specific crime prevention tips will be available beginning Monday, October 6th at subway stations citywide. These brochures also give the number of the NYPD Sex Crimes Report Hotline, 212-267-RAPE (7273), to report past attacks or incidents. “If we help one person,” added Roberts, “we will have done our job.”

Click here for the 11×70 Bilingual Sign.

Click here for the bilingual brochure.

Now lets take a look at the brief article from the Associated Press on the topic:

NYC Transit has started a public service campaign to fight sexual harassment on the subway.

The agency is placing ads in subway cars encouraging victims to report the harassment. The ads also offer safety tips.

Last year, 63% of straphangers surveyed in an unscientific report said they had been sexually harassed. Of them, 96% said they didn’t report the incidents. Most victims were women.

The report defined harassment as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, flashing, groping, fondling and public masturbation.

Last month, a subway rider took a cell phone picture of a man she said had used a phone to take a picture under her skirt. She e-mailed the photo to police, and the man was arrested.

I’ll echo the statement I made in August when they had a change of heart:

I am glad the agency had a change of heart although I question what took them so long. The main reason given for not going through with the campaign was the fear of copycats or encouraging perverts to take their chances. They now want to “assess their impact” which is pretty much saying they still have fears of copycats. The right attitude is to just say the safety of our passengers is & will always me more important than the chance of idiotic perverts being encourage by ads calling them out.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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An Acceptable Level of Cleanliness Would Cost NYCT $100 Million

The startling figure was discussed in an article by New York Daily News transit reporter Pete Donohue. His article went into details on how it would cost New York City Transit (NYCT) approximately $100 million dollars to maintain an acceptable level of cleanliness throughout the entire NYC Subway. Here is more from Pete’s article:

It will take a lot of green to keep your subway station clean.

NYC Transit would have to hire an additional 1,575 cleaners, and spend nearly $230,000 per hub, to reach and maintain an acceptable level of cleanliness across the entire system, according to an agency analysis.

“That’s a lot of money,” William Henderson, executive director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said. “In today’s climate, that’s an awful lot of money.”

Click here for the complete article.

I have to admit that the figure startled me when I first saw it. I was just thinking how $100 million dollars is a lot of money to have an acceptable level of cleanliness throughout the NYC Subway. This line of thinking led me to my next question which is what exactly is an acceptable level of cleanliness? If it would cost $100 million for an “acceptable” level of cleanliness, just how much would it cost for pristine conditions?

Seriously with that amount of money, the MTA should be able to do more than just keep an acceptable level of cleanliness. They should also be able to fund many repairs at the same time. As far as overall condition goes, many riders are quick to jump on the lack of effort from subway cleaners. While it is true that some of them are lazy & don’t care to properly do their job, it truly does not fall on them.

As usual the riders want to blame everyone but themselves. The trash that they want cleaners to really clean up did not get there by itself. The trash got there due to riders, some which are quick to attack cleaners for their sub par efforts. Instead of preaching from their pulpit on how cleaners should work with pride, how about taking that same pride by not dirtying the system to begin with. What a great idea, no?

xoxo Transit Blogger

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State Looks To Replace Tappan Zee Bridge

Transit Blogger focuses on mass transit so why am I writing about the Tappan Zee Bridge? Well I am writing about it because if the state has its way, the aging Tappan Zee Bridge will be completely replaced & sport a new structure which would be extremely mass transit friendly. Lets go straight to the report by William Neuman of the New York Times:

State officials announced an ambitious plan on Friday to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge with a new bridge with room for commuter trains and high-speed bus lanes. The price tag for a new bridge and expanded rail and bus lines: $16 billion.

Officials did not say how they would pay for the project; they said they would work with a financial adviser to come up with financing options. The state transportation commissioner, Astrid C. Glynn, said that the state would seek federal financing for part of the project and that a partnership involving some form of private financing would also be considered.

“This is obviously a very significant investment for the state,” Ms. Glynn said in a telephone interview after a formal announcement in Tarrytown. “At this point, all options have to be on the table.”

Officials said the bridge itself would cost $6.4 billion. A high-speed bus corridor running from Suffern to Port Chester would cost $2.9 billion. And it would cost an additional $6.7 billion to build a new rail line that would go from the Metro-North station in Suffern and across the bridge, connecting with Metro-North’s Hudson Line south of Tarrytown.

Click here for the complete report.

Now lets go to Tri-State Transportation Campaign who weighed in on the state’s plan in this entry by Communications Associate Steven Higashide:

The Tappan Zee Bridge/I-287 Corridor project hit a major milestone this morning, when NYSDOT publicly recommended that the Tappan Zee Bridge be replaced, that a bus rapid transit (BRT) system run through the I-287 corridor between Suffern and Port Chester, and that a new commuter rail line be built from Suffern to the Tappan Zee Bridge, where it would connect with existing tracks and run to Grand Central Terminal in NYC.

The announcement, which came at a press conference at the study team’s Tarrytown office, received praise from TSTC and other advocates. The full corridor BRT/Rockland-NYC commuter rail combination is projected to attract more new and total transit riders than any other combination the team considered: 79,900 average weekday riders, with 31,200 of those being new riders not diverted from other transit systems. These and other updated transit ridership projections are listed in two studies, released today, which detail the study team’s justifications for recommending a replacement bridge with BRT/commuter rail and a bicycle/pedestrian path.

Click here for the complete entry.

The New York Times had a followup report which was written by Diana Marszalek:

THE recent announcement that transportation officials want to replace rather than repair the Tappan Zee Bridge, and have it accommodate new bus and Metro-North service to boot, sounds like a logical first step. The Tappan Zee, at 52 years old, is so outdated that 80 percent of it would have to be replaced to bring it up to current standards and to meet the growing needs of commuters, the officials said.

Given the $6.4 billion price tag, not including the costs for mass transit, transportation officials said it was not worth trying to make the old structure new again. “This must be done,” Andrew J. Spano, the Westchester County executive, said at the Sept. 26 press conference at which transportation officials and Westchester and Rockland County leaders announced their recommendation that a new Tappan Zee Bridge be built. “This is a bridge whose time has come.”

Those same officials, however, now plan to spend the remainder of this year and all of next looking long and hard at how to execute the plan, especially in light of concerns about the impact it will have on traffic, nearby towns and the environment.

Click here for the complete report.

As a former Rockland County resident, I can tell you first hand that this bridge is long overdue to be replaced. Outside of that fact, I think transit advocates, bloggers, etc… should applaud the state for looking to help further our transit infrastructure in an ever growing region. However I will hold off the huge celebration until I see what the actual plan will be.

I am also concerned that their is already talk of the rail portion not being open on day 1 of the new bridge. I can’t stress how important it is that the rail portion is open on day 1 of the new Tappan Zee Bridge. If it does not open on the same day, you can pretty much guarantee that it will be the victim of delays due to budget concerns. While the thinking behind this project is a welcome sign in a region & society which has long been auto-centric, it has to be executed to truly showcase our government’s real desire to improve our transit infrastructure.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA Cancels Part Of The Double-Decker Bus Trial

Last month the MTA announced plans for a 35 day test run of double-decker buses in passenger service. The trial was met with tons of excitement from transit officials but more importantly the riding public. Unfortunately because of height issues in relation to tree branches, (something that was mentioned as a possible issue prior to the trial) the MTA has been forced to put off testing on two lines in Manhattan. Martin Espinoza of the New York Times has more in this report:

Because of a height issue — which would seem to be a built-in obstacle — the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has had to put off its plans to test its double-decker bus on two routes, including one that traverses Fifth Avenue.

The reason? Tree branches on Riverside Drive and Fifth Avenue are in the way.

Instead, the authority is currently limiting the trial to one route, the X17J from Staten Island to Manhattan.

Even on a good day, it can take about an hour and 45 minutes to complete its journey, from Huguenot Avenue on Staten Island to East 57th Street in Midtown, during peak commuting hours.

Click here for the complete report.

I wonder why they even chose the routes they did if they knew in advance that their was a strong possibility of height issues. Who knows….

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