05/25/05 — Gateway buses to become rolling billboards

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Gateway buses to become rolling billboards

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on May 25, 2005 1:45 PM

Gateway's buses and vans will become billboards on wheels, starting this summer.

The Goldsboro-Wayne Transportation Authority agreed this week to allow a company to sell advertising on its vehicles. The contract has yet to be finalized, but ads could appear as soon as July 1, said Executive Director Stephen Wright.

The deal is expected to bring in an extra $7,000-$10,000 in revenues a year.

The contractor plans to print the ads on a vinyl that would cling to the side and rear panels of buses and to the high tops on conversion vans, Wright said. "It will have no effect on our vehicles at all."

The Gateway board retains the right to reject advertising it finds unacceptable.

Wright does not believe it will take long to line up advertisers. Three companies have already expressed an interest. The buses and vans may initially carry an "Advertise Here" message to get the message out, he said.

Many people have gotten used to seeing this type of marketing in cities like Raleigh and Charlotte, but it's spreading to many smaller transit systems. About half of the state's rural vanpool systems now have ads, Wright estimated.

A check of N.C. transit systems found different policies in place.

High Point has a contract with Southeast Media Group, also known as TransitAd, to put advertising on 14 of the city's 15 buses, according to Assistant Transit Manager Angela W. Wynes. The company guarantees the city at least $650 per bus per year, or $9,100, but the city has already received more than $15,000 in the past 11 months, she said.

Asheville's system accepts advertising both inside and outside of its buses. Revenues from 16 buses were nearly $16,000 since last July, said Transit Director Bruce Black.

Tar River Transit, in Rocky Mount, does not allow advertising on the exterior of its buses or vans, said Manager David Eatman. The system will post public service announcements in the interior of buses.

Salisbury's bus system also does not accept ads, said spokesman Steve Martin.