The design of the MetroCard underwent its first change since 1995 when on Oct. 9 they began featuring new advertisements. This may affect the 4,996 university students who commute to the school, accounting for 1/3 of the student body.
The Gap is the first company to advertise on the newly designed MetroCards, with hopes of boosting sales as they offer 20 percent off when you show the new and improved MetroCard at your time of purchase. The Gap hopes that this advertisement will serve as a great promotion for the flagship Gap store on 34th and Broadway, however; the discount is redeemable at any store.
These cards are no longer the classic yellow, and instead, they are now a shade of bright blue. The first design offered says in multicolored lettering “Stay Bright NYC.” MetroCards featuring the ads are currently being sold in only 10 subway stations.
Throughout the rest of this year, and the beginning of next year, the availability of the “advertisement MetroCards” will expand to more stations.
Chanda Daniels, freshman, said, “I think it’s a great idea and hopefully, some of the money that the MTA makes from the advertisements will go to improving the subway systems,” adding, “Hopefully, this will keep MTA (sic.) from increasing the price of the fares .”
According to the New York Daily News, “The MTA charged 18 cents to 51 cents per card to advertise on the back of a MetroCard, depending on the volume. An official estimated over the summer the agency would charge an additional seven cents more per card to advertise on both sides, but declined to disclose the final markup.”
Not all students are convinced the new profits for the MTA will spur any change in pricing. Andrew Crocitto, freshman, said, “I don’t think it’s going to raise any money for the MTA system. It’s most likely not going to affect anything because it’s so small. Yes, most New Yorkers use MetroCards, but it’s just not worth any company paying a large sum of money to advertise on.” Andrew also commented that many tourists and native New Yorkers might be upset, because many enjoy the classic yellow exterior on the MetroCard.
According to The Huffington Post, the cards are available at stations around the city selected based on their proximity to the flagship store and their high ridership. Approximately 10 percent of cards sold in a typical month will carry the ad. It is anticipated the next full-face advertising campaigns will appear in December and January.
Joseph J. Lhota, the authority’s chairman, said in a news release, “Opening up the front of MetroCards to advertising gives the MTA a new source of revenue. We will monitor public acceptance of ads going forward to ensure that it doesn’t interfere with use of the transit system.”
The hope of many New Yorkers is that advertisements on MetroCards will be beneficial to the MTA and keep the price of the fare down. As of now, there is no indication of whether or not the advertisements will affect the proposed fare hike expected for March 2013.