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New Ads on LIRR Train Exteriors Will Help Boost MTA Revenue

Photo of new LIRR ads

In a move to increase revenue, the Long Island Rail Road is selling advertising space on the exteriors of its commuter trains for the first time.

The move is part of the MTA's push to increase cash flow from advertising during a period of significant recession-related revenue shortfalls and service reductions as a result of decreases in the State's dedicated taxes that help support the MTA.

Fifty of the LIRR's 836 M-7 electric coaches are displaying tasteful ads that begin at the level of the doors' floors and extend up to the bottom of the cars' windows. These cars are traveling through the most heavily used portions of the Long Island Rail Road, from Penn Station and Atlantic Terminal to Babylon, Ronkonkoma, Huntington, Port Washington, Long Beach, Hempstead, Far Rockaway and West Hempstead. The current ads, promoting Cablevision's Optimum WiFi, are visible to customers boarding the trains on platforms as well as passing motorists and pedestrians. If this three-month trial is successful, the MTA,LIRR and Metro North Railroad will consider extending the program to more cars with the help of advertising contractor CBS Outdoor.

"The MTA earns more than $100 million per year from sales of advertising space, mostly through traditional print media, but this traditional advertising has suffered as a result of the recession," said MTA Chairman Jay Walder. "Our uncertain finances mean that we have to think creatively to maximize the value of our physical assets. One way we are doing that is by creating more dynamic advertising opportunities."

Among the MTA's recent or planned initiatives designed to increase ad revenue are station domination campaigns in which advertisers are invited to take over entire subway stations and digital displays on trains, buses and stations. The MTA is also exploring 3D images, and in-tunnel subway advertising. Last week, New York City Transit began its first trial of in-train video advertising displays.

The LIRR joins other commuter rail systems that have already sold ad space on the outside of its commuter trains.