HART kicked off a new advertising program that will use the existing annunciation system on buses to broadcast 10-15 second messages. The program is managed by transit media firm Commuter Advertising, which enables time and location-based announcements triggered by GPS systems. HART is one of 10 transit agencies in the U.S. to embrace this new transit advertising technology.
The contract with Commuter Advertising represents a new advertising revenue stream for HART; projected revenue to HART over a five-year period is more than $460,000. In addition, HART will use this system for public service announcements about changes to bus routes or schedules, and to build relationships with businesses at bus stops -- all with zero impact to HART operations.
"HART has always been diligent about operating as efficiently as possible and identifying innovative practices that save taxpayer money and improve the long-term financial sustainability of this agency," said HART Chief Executive Officer Philip Hale. "Not only does this represent new revenue for HART and introduces a new advertising option for this market, HART and Commuter Advertising are offering the opportunity for advertisers of small businesses to affordably promote their services or products to very targeted audiences."
Commuter Advertising will complement current HART advertising options, such as bus and shelter advertising. These programs exceeded projections in fiscal year 2012: Total actual revenue generated from these programs was $770,771, while the budgeted revenue was $530,000.
Commuter Advertising is the first and only company to create, manage and sell GPS-based, short-form audio and text-scroll advertising on transit vehicles in the United States. All advertisements are ADA compliant. Other transit agencies throughout the country using this technology are: Cincinnati, Dayton and Toledo, Ohio; Champaign and Chicago, Ill; Kansas City, Mo.; Rockland County, N.Y.; Pittsburgh, Penn.; and Jacksonville, Fla.
"Commuter ads are a great way for Tampa-area businesses to reach customers at an exact location," said Katie Hill, founder of Commuter Advertising. "Also, we're excited to bring new revenue to HART. They're dedicated to providing great service, and we're onboard with that."
Customers will begin hearing HART public service announcements through January and February as the system is tested before paid advertisements are published. Paid advertisements, for which Commuter Advertising has already garnered interest, will begin after the initial testing stages. Commuter Advertising will then conduct surveys within six to nine months to ensure advertising announcements are well received by HART customers.