Public Transit bus ads make $18,750 in first year

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Augusta's attempt to make money through advertising on city buses has raised close to $19,000 in its first year.

In June 2008, advertising space was created on the outside of Augusta Public Transit buses. Transit Director Heyward Johnson and members of Augusta Commission finance committee had hoped to raise $60,000 a year for the bus system, which loses about $4 million annually.

Tony Thomas, the president of Renaissance Marketing - the Savannah-based advertising firm that handles the bus accounts- said the program has brought in $18,750. Renaissance and the city split the revenue.

Out of the $18,750, Augusta Public Transit has received only $5,225 from Renaissance Marketing, although some contracts are still in billing status.

Mr. Thomas said that part of the problem is that Augusta has too few buses on the road to draw national advertising. The city runs only 13 buses daily.

"We're really proud of what we've done thus far," Mr. Thomas said. While Savannah has only three models of buses, Augusta runs five. This makes advertising packages difficult to sell because advertisers want to know that their message is being displayed frequently and consistently, according to Mr. Thomas.

Renaissance is working around this difficulty by pushing a full-wrap advertising option, in which an advertiser pays for the whole bus to be covered.

Mr. Thomas said he is hashing out details for two clients interested in the full-wrap option, one being a national insurance provider and the other a local janitorial service.

The transit department is grateful for any funds it receives from the advertising.

"It is definitely bringing in revenue that we did not have before," said Heyward Johnson, Augusta Public Transit's director. "That we did have any advertising at all is remarkable,"

Likewise, Mr. Thomas is not discouraged by the advertising.

"This is just going to take some time," he said.

Reach Gracie Shepherd at (706) 823-3228 or gracie.shepherd@augustachronicle.com.

This article has been updated to correct an attribution error.

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AugustaFella
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AugustaFella 07/07/09 - 06:38 am
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Tony Thomas is a Savannah

Tony Thomas is a Savannah city alderman who's sort of famous (in Savannah) for financial problems and occasionally erratic behavior. If you'll notice, many of the bus ads originate out of Savannah. The Savannah College of Art and Design is one of the main advertisers. So is the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department.

ladyjanegrey
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ladyjanegrey 07/07/09 - 06:56 am
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LOL...so AugustaFella just

LOL...so AugustaFella just what is it your try to say?. : )

2tired2argueanymore
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2tired2argueanymore 07/07/09 - 07:59 am
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Wow a whopping 18,000 and we

Wow a whopping 18,000 and we have to split that with the group that sells the ads. That is really helping to put a dent in that 4 million cost. What does the department actually do? Maybe when we get the trolley we can paste ads all over them.

Tots
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Tots 07/07/09 - 08:51 am
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And I'm saying $18,750 split

And I'm saying $18,750 split two ways does not come to $5,225.

Tots
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Tots 07/07/09 - 09:00 am
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Take some of the empity city

Take some of the empity city buses.Paint them to look like Trolleys.Run the routes the commissioners are trying to build tracks on.Put local advertisments on the buses& dont pay an outside firm.1st you could see what routes might work before the tracks are laid.

joebowles
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joebowles 07/07/09 - 09:16 am
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TOTS, please name one

TOTS, please name one commissioner that wants to build the trolley system?

noway
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noway 07/07/09 - 09:25 am
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Unless the advertising is

Unless the advertising is going to make $4million for Augusta, as opposed to a lame $5,225, what's the point? and why is Augusta Transit running advertising for some other group to make over 2/3rds of the money? Wow, Augusta, the logic is extraordinary!

Tots
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Tots 07/07/09 - 03:04 pm
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joebowles@9:16-I dont work

joebowles@9:16-I dont work for the news paper so getting this information for you is not my job.But I did call the Mayors office left a message around 2:30.Called back @2:40 left message with Karen Nixon.Still waiting for that information.Also called Joe Jackson at2:30 left message.Jerry Brigham got no answer.J.R. Hatney got his answering machine but left no message.

Tots
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Tots 07/07/09 - 03:16 pm
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joebowles@9:16-I also called

joebowles@9:16-I also called a Joe Bowels@3:08 ext 107 I left him a message Hopeing he can help me get this information.You may know him.District 3 commissioner.(Also called him at 3:16 left message on his cell phone.)

Tots
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Tots 07/07/09 - 03:33 pm
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Thanks Joe for calling me

Thanks Joe for calling me back.Was very surprised by your answer.I really thought commissioners had to be pushing this idea.Only to be told it is the DOWN TOWN AUTHORTY.I think I heard DTA.

Tots
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Tots 07/07/09 - 04:57 pm
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(DDA)-went and wached the

(DDA)-went and wached the 2008 Buiness Recruitment Video.Deke Copenhaver-Mayor.Barry White-ceo president convention and vistors bureau.Michael Ash-presdent of M.C.G. Erick Montgomery-executive director of Historic Augusta. Margarent Woodward-executive of DDA. Steven Kendrick-Downtown Development authorty chairman.And Sue Parr-president& CEO of the chamber of commerce.So from what I was told today these are the people pushing for the Trolley System and Ball Stadium.( Thanks to Karen for calling back& telling me that the money they used to go out of town was a grant& she said nothing has been decided so far.

Tots
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Tots 07/07/09 - 05:05 pm
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Called Margarent Woodward

Called Margarent Woodward around 5:00 talked to a very nice lady.She took my name & number.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 07/07/09 - 08:17 pm
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Tots, that was no lady, that

Tots, that was no lady, that was my wife.

Tots
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Tots 07/07/09 - 08:58 pm
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Little Lamb@8:17-Well she has

Little Lamb@8:17-Well she has my name and number now.

HillGuy
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HillGuy 07/07/09 - 09:15 pm
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I always thought LL was a

I always thought LL was a woman

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