An expert on the MBTA’s financial status said yesterday the T’s move to pull alcohol advertisements from its trains and stations is a huge mistake.

“They have a giant financial crisis,” said Brian S. Kane, budget and policy analyst for the MBTA Advisory Board. “They should be maximizing revenue through things like advertising and I think the Department of Transportation should rethink this prohibition.”

The ban on alcohol ads will set the cash-strapped T back $1.5 million in revenue, according to MassDOT Secretary Rich Davey.

While riders will have to bid farewell to that oddly sexy Svedka Vodka robot they see while trekking through T stops, Davey said the money loss is negligible.


“It’s the right thing to do,” he said, “and we are confident we can resell a lot of that space.”

Kane said he worries riders are going to have to “eat that loss” in other ways, like the recently proposed service cuts and fare hikes.

Alcohol isn’t the first thing to get blocked by the T. Davey said there are rules for advertising with the transit agency. The agency doesn’t allow political ads and removed an anti-Sen. Scott Brown ad last summer. Ads that promote tobacco use, violence and firearms are also banned.

Students inspire ad ban

Davey said the ban, which will start July 1, was partly inspired by a youth coalition that spoke against the use of alcohol ads in August.

“We are trying to encourage healthy behavior,” he said.

The T is one of the last transit agencies in the nation still running ads for beer and spirits.

However, Kane said even without the ads on T property, kids are going to continue to be exposed to alcohol.

“It doesn’t mean they won’t see it on other media everyday,” he said. “It’s just going to cost the T $1.5 million every year that they really need.”

Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear

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