Saturday, February 14, 2009

Is this any way to run a railroad?

There's a story in Friday's Washington Post about how the DC Metro system is looking for way to"bump up revenue". They are even considering a gas tax (that is, on people who drive rather than, um, take the subway) for additional funding.

Here's an idea:

Join the 20th century, and allow significantly more advertising on the system. Look around Metro, exactly what you think foots the bill for broadcast radio and television, newspapers and magazines? Hmmmmm?

According to a story in the Post last April, Metro brings in $35 million in advertising, " the largest source of revenue that does not come from fares, fees or local governments." (That last part left me wondering what the hell else there is.) The DC Metro, the story said then, has always prided itself in a "stark, distinctive look". And last year considered a single giant electronic sign that would bring in an additional $3 million a year. And there was lot of angst over that single (ONE) sign. Ridiculous. And further evidence that things like Metro are usually run by buffoons and idiots.

Have you ever ridden the DC Metro? They could double the number of car cards and quadruple the number of two-sheeters and dioramas and still carry off a semi "dark, distinctive look" (see photo). And generate a lot of money that would perhaps make for better service and fewer fare increases. Would it impact the quality of your time on the subway? Smoother starts and stops, fewer delays and escalators that actually work would do better.

As an ad agency, there have been plenty of times when we've wanted to place dioramas or two-sheeters, but there was no available inventory where we wanted to place them. Personally, I'd love to see more advertising available. (Partly, in all honesty, because I love out-of-home advertising.) And I'd like to see better use made of the cars themselves instead of the below-eye-level things that are on there now.

But nobody asked me.

Nobody ever does.

1 comment:

Ody said...

Here’s another idea to get Metro some much needed revenue. Advertise. Themselves. They obviously have extra capacity off-peak times. So where’s my timely reminder that last time I tried to park in Dupont Circle I about murdered someone?