BOSTON—The cash-strapped Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority has begun to sell advertising on its website as part of efforts to boost revenues, plug a projected $150 million deficit during the next fiscal year and avoid fare hikes, officials said.
The MBTA said a space for an ad will appear at the very top of mbta.com beginning Wednesday morning. The website attracts more than 500,000 unique visitors and at least eight million page views per month -- most of them in the 18-to-49-year-old demographic many advertisers covet, spokesman Joe Pesaturo said.
The MBTA won't accept alcohol advertising. General Manager Richard Davey said the initiative is expected to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The MBTA is pushing to raise revenues as it seeks to avoid hiking fares and deal with a persistent budget deficit.
Last month, the transit agency begun licensing T merchandize and clothing, raising about $35,000 so far, Pesaturo said.
The T is also seeking consultants to manage its naming-rights deals that could raise at least $250,000 in the first year.
"The scope of the proposed naming rights program extends to all T properties, including subway, commuter rail, bus and rapid-bus transit lines, ferry routes, stations, and media such as Charlie Cards, smart phone applications and informational materials," Pesaturo said.
A firm has also approached the MBTA to offer location-based, short-form audio advertising on transit vehicles. The initiative essentially taps into the systems installed under the American With Disabilities Act that requires buses to call out the location of the bus stops as the buses roll down the streets.