Buses save spaces for ads

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Augusta city buses will soon serve as moving advertisements for local businesses.

The ads will help with operating costs for the transit system, which loses about $1.5 million each year.  Chris Thelen/Staff
Chris Thelen/Staff
The ads will help with operating costs for the transit system, which loses about $1.5 million each year.

Ads could be posted on the buses as early as next month, and officials project they will bring in as much as $60,000 per year.

Since the beginning of June, city buses have been sporting yellow "advertising space available" signs, said Augusta Public Transit Director Heyward Johnson. The effort began in October when the Augusta Commission approved the contract between the transit system and Renaissance Marketing, a Savannah-based transit advertising company.

Ads will be placed on the front, back and sides of the 12 buses that run through Augusta, Mr. Johnson said. It will be the second time the transit system has attempted the venture.

"We tried this before about 10 years ago," Mr. Johnson said. "It wasn't successful. We're hoping this time it will have a positive experience."

The idea is well on its way to success, said Tony Thomas, the president of Renaissance Marketing. His office has received at least 20 calls each day over the past two weeks from interested businesses.

The buses will not carry any political, alcohol or tobacco advertisements, Mr. Thomas said.

Once the ads are posted, Renaissance will split half of the revenue with the transit system, Mr. Thomas said. The ads will sell for $50 to $200, depending on size and placement. Success greatly depends on ridership, he said.

"If they decide to add routes, that's just going to make it that much more lucrative," Mr. Thomas said. "I know they need enough riders for that."

Ridership continues to be a factor in the transit budget, Mr. Johnson said, and the transit system loses about $1.5 million each year.

An additional $60,000 each year would make up 5 percent of the budget and likely cover part of the system's operating costs, said Joe Bowles, the chairman of the Augusta Commission's finance committee.

"It'll help offset what the taxpayers are putting into the transit system and help increase the services being provided," Mr. Bowles said. "I think it's long overdue."

Mr. Johnson said the success of the bus ads will likely not be apparent until sometime next year.

Reach Stephanie Toone at (706) 823-3215 or stephanie.toone@augustachronicle.com.

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stumpjumper 06/15/08 - 07:05 am
Allen Childs tried this about

Allen Childs tried this about 10 ten years ago and failed becausw he was all about himself and stealing from his partners and deceiving the consumer of the add. This is not his first adventure and failing for the same, He should be incarcerated for his actions.

karmakills123 06/15/08 - 09:50 am
Every city I have ever been

Every city I have ever been in all over the world have ads on their public transportation..........................how is it that this is just one more thing that the city of Augusta can't get right?

ishefa 06/15/08 - 10:08 am
I don't care about Ads on

I don't care about Ads on buses. What is more important is a need for MORE rapid transit systems that network througout the state of Georgia. The rising cost of fuel has made it impossible for many families to even go to work. A very sophisticated transit sytem already exist in Europe.
It is no longer economically feasible to maintain the notion of small town territoriality, or for each member of driving age in a family to own an automible. It is dangerous for the elderly and the very young to be forced to drive automobiles just to take care of their basic
daily needs.

The Knave
The Knave 06/15/08 - 10:19 am
Cities everywhere on the face

Cities everywhere on the face of the earth have advertisements on their public transit system vehicles -- except Augusta, of course. It seems that every rock that is turned over in Augusta reveals another indication of just how incredibly inept is the government. At the same time, I do believe that citizens get the government that they deserve, not the one that they want. Perhaps a little less attention given to public prayers, pledges of allegiance, and other trappings of pious religiosity and phony patriotism --- and a little more to common sense, rational thinking, and accountability for public officials, would yield positive results. ----When the people fear the government, that’s tyranny. When the government fears the people, that liberty. ---- It would seem that it's time to instill a little fear in the hearts of those public officials.

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