MTA Finds New Avenues For Ad Revenue

Agency also putting more ads in subway stations and on the outside of trains to fill budget gap.

Don't be surprised if the MetroCard you buy this month is green instead of yellow. 

The new look is part of the MTA's new push for to raise revenue by selling ad space on MetroCards.

The advertising effort is the latest in a series of steps by the MTA to make sure it makes as much money as it can from selling advertising space. Other initiatives include advertising on the outside of trains, full interior and exterior subway train advertising wraps, digital advertisements inside the subway system and digital moving images on subway station sidewalk entrances.

“We’re very pleased by the continuing high level of interest that advertisers are showing toward the MetroCard as a medium for promotions,” said Paul Fleuranges, MTA’s Director of Corporate and Internal Communications, in a written statement. “This confirms that our decision to re-launch the MetroCard advertising program this year was the right move.”

The current cards have ads for Audible.com or SimpleMobile.com.

The Audible MetroCard ad will be printed on the front of the card, and will offer straphangers a chance to try out their service with a free audiobook download. The cards will be available at major Manhattan subway stations including Union Square, 34th Street, Times Square, Columbus Circle and Grand Central.

The Simple Mobile ad campaign will be printed on the back of the card, and will be available at select locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens.

According to the MTA – though they do not disclose amounts paid for specific ad campaigns – MetroCard ads cost between 18¢ to 51¢ per card, which works out to $25,500 to $450,000. The minimum print run of 1 million cards is required to advertise on the fronts of MetroCards and associated rates range between 25¢ and 30¢ per card.

Though ads have been present on the backs of MetroCards since 1995, in July, the MTA decided to sell the ad space themselves, rather than through a third party. They also announced that ad space would be available on the front of cards for the first time.


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