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"Station Domination," Paid Parking and More Money-Makers the DART Board Will Consider

Pulled up behind one of these two weeks ago. The 7-year-old in the backseat thought it was hilarious.
Pulled up behind one of these two weeks ago. The 7-year-old in the backseat thought it was hilarious.

Last month we noted that the Dallas Area Rapid Transit board is considering selling ads for beer and wine on buses and light rail -- which, right now, is prohibited by policy just because. After the jump you'll find the board's back-and-forth over that very subject, which could prove controversial; board member Pamela Dunlop Gates says "advertisers must be sensitive to neighborhoods who don't want" alcohol ads, per the minutes from the last meeting.

But that chitchat veered into more than a few lanes: As you'll see on the other side, it also deals with the concept of wrapping trains, a la the TRE Silver Bullet train that rode the rails during the Super Bowl. Then there's this not-entirely novel concept, which will be discussed at today's meeting of the board's Revenue Committee: selling the naming rights to stations. Why not, since the city and the Dallas Independent School District are already floating similar proposals? Or selling the entirety of Mockingbird Station to a single advertiser: "the concept of dedicating exclusive use of all advertising space at a particular rail station to one advertising client -- a concept also known as 'station domination,'" says today's agenda.

And then there's this unrelated money-maker: paid parking at the Parker Road and North Carrollton/Frankford stations following a public hearing last summer that didn't bother residents (who won't be charged) but ticked off non-DART-sales-tax-paying residents hit with the $2 to $4 daily charge. A resolution allowing for a one-year paid parking "demonstration" at the stations is on the agenda.

From the minutes of last month's meeting of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit board's Revenue Committee:

Ms. Bauman said staff has done a great deal of research on the beer and wine content, and have found that most of advertising in transit for such is on the northeast coast. About 75% of transit authorities have active banns in their policies against alcohol advertising; 100/0 of the transit industry specifically allows this type of advertising in their policy; areas such as New York, Boston, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis. DART's policy has been moot as far as banning, but DART's practice has been active in banning. Committee Members have the opportunity to include our ability to add the market of wine and beer into policy language.

Ms. Dunlop Gates asked how much money has been forecast into the budget for beer and wine advertising? Mr. Leininger said he has not assumed a policy change, so therefore no monies have been forecast.

Ms. Bauman said if the Board allows beer and wine advertising, the market would have a potential of generating $200,000 to $400,000 annually, per DART's contractor. DART's market base would be broaden, allowing advertisers to participate who have in the past, been banned.

• Other Advertising Revenue Opportunity

Chair Danish said a wrap for the Super Bowl on the TRE Silver Bullet paid $40-$50,000. Ms. Bauman said that was an estimated amount. She continued to explain that Fort Worth's total revenue for advertising for the entire year is only $300,000; $100,000 is bus bench advertising.

Ms. Ellerbe asked if the price would be what DART receives, or would it be shared? Ms. Bauman said DART has a fixed contract rate with Titan and gets a guaranteed amount, plus a percentage; it's a one year total bottom line.

Mr. Chrisman asked if Titan has all of DART's advertising, we couldn't take any part out to the public? Ms. Bauman said the advantage to DART is the leveraging of advertising. If DART adds other markets that Titan can sell, it would cost DART money.

Ms. Wilkins asked for clarification, that our current contract is not to advertise on our rail lines? Ms. Bauman said that is excluded, the advertising policy would have to be changed.Ms. Bauman said these types of screens can be shared with advertising and to provide information for customers; it can offset some of the costs for various methods of communication. Revenue generated is relative to what can be sold and what the market will bear.

Ms. Dunlop Gates stated that previously there had been some discussion about if an advertiser did not have the ability to put beer and wine ads on shelters, there wouldn't be much of an interest in bus shelters outside the Central Business District (CBD). If we give authority to a vendor to solicit beer and wine advertising, then it changes the entire landscape.

Ms. Bauman responded that the billboard industry has its code conduct relating to alcohol and beer. This type of advertising cannot be within 500 feet of a church or school, and within 200 feet of a package store.

Mr. Williams asked about the possibilities for advertising on the benches. Ms. Bauman responded that most of DART's benches are concrete with the DART logo and do not have backs.

3. *Amendment to DART Board Policy 111.06, Advertising and Concessions Policy Ms. Bauman briefed the Committee (slides on file with the Office of Board Support) as follows:

Ms. Ellerbe made a motion to approve that DART Board Policy 111.06, Advertising and Concessions Policy, is amended as shown in Exhibit 1 to this resolution. Mr. Chrisman seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously.

Chair Danish commented that with the advent of the recent election that puts beer and wine in convenience stores throughout Dallas and all throughout Irving, and asked what is the rationale to try to control beer and wine advertising? He stated that obviously DART Boards preceding the current Board had reservations about beer and wine. The T allows beer and wine in their advertising.

Mr. Chrisman said his concern is about changing the policy to allow wraps, and asked if based on the way the amendment is read (Advertising and Concessions Policy, on file in the Office of Board Support), is it very clear that both commuter and light rail cars can be wrapped? Ms. Bauman said that is the intention.

Mr. Chrisman asked if anyone is against the beer and wine advertising? Ms. Dunlop Gates stated that she has an issue with saturation. She continued that self regulation does not work in communities of color, historically and speaking from personal experience and not hearsay.

Mr. Chrisman asked Ms. Dunlop Gates if she would be okay with the policy change if the last line were dropped? Ms. Dunlop Gates said she is alright with the other option being considered, but beer and wine changes the dynamics, and advertisers must be sensitive to neighborhoods who don't want it.

Mr. Sinunons, DART General Counsel, stated that the word "regulation" was left out and will be added.

Mr. Cheney commented that as long as advertising is regulated on taste and committee standards, we should sit around and look at it from a moral standpoint.

Ms. Ellerbe said that personally if she had a choice, it would be that nothing was done to any of our vehicles; however she continued, there is not much choice.

Mr. Williams said he is completely sensitive to issues Ms. Dunlop Gates has raised, especially from a historical perspective. He continued that DART is in a budget crisis, and if this is a means to have revenue to maintain, and possibly return a level of service to the transit dependent population, then he is in agreement.


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