Notice that your new MetroCard looks different?
That’s because it probably is. On Sunday, Oct. 7, the MTA unveiled a new set of MetroCards that display ads on the front, as well the back, of the card.
Ads have appeared on the ubiquitous MetroCard since 1995, but, until today, they were relegated to the back of the signature yellow subway pass. Now, advertisements will appear on the front of the card, as well.
It was a decision the MTA made and announced in July, and is all in the name of raising more revenue for the cash-starved transit agency.
“Opening up the front of MetroCards to advertising gives the MTA a new source of revenue,” said MTA Chairman Joe Lhota. “There is no reason why the MTA shouldn’t put every resource it can toward helping its fragile finances.”
Ad space on the back of 50,000 MetroCards cost $25,500 and can cost up to $450,000 for ads on 2.5 million cards, according to The New York Times. Rates are higher for ad space on the front.
Gap clothing company was the first to purchase the lucrative front-facing space.
Ads from Gap on the front of the cards read “Be Bright NYC” with multicolored letters on a navy blue background. It encourages New Yorkers to visit Gap’s newly remodeled flagship store at 34th Street and Broadway starting Oct. 10. In addition, customers who present the MetroCard at any Gap store are entitled to a 20 percent discount now through Nov. 18.
Subway station agents and MetroCard vending machines began selling the new MetroCards Sunday.
Approximately 10 percent of the MetroCards sold throughout the system in a typical month will carry the Gap ad. The Gap MetroCards will be sold at main stations such as Union Square, Herald Square, Penn Station, Grand Central, Columbus Circle and Times Square, all chosen based on their proximity to the Gap’s flagship store and their high ridership.
The MTA anticipates that the next full-face advertising campaigns will appear on MetroCards in December and January.