Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Metro TV

We haven't been at this that long and have much to learn, but a couple of days ago, we heard about something for the first time on Dr. Gridlock's chat: The Metro Channel (TMC).

This is so 'Tro. The idea seems pretty simple but the execution seems fraught with potential problems.

Here's what they want to do: outfit every conceivable nook and cranny (the word they use is ubiquitous) of Metro with an LCD or plasma screen that would:

  • Enhance Rider Experience
  • create new avenues for customer information access
  • unify and simplify communications in incidents, closings, and emergencies
  • generate advertising revenues for the authority

First of all, what's to say these new fancy signs will have accurate information? At Federal Center SW it's a 50-50 proposition the current PID is displaying accurate information JUST ABOUT THE COLOR of the next train. We've never actually timed it to see if, in fact a blue, err, Orange Line train is coming in three minutes.

Under the TMC model, Metro anticipates the installation of 3,000-5,000 LCD or plasma screen displays on Metro properties including buses and rail cars. Ideally, these would be paid for by the contract winners, or "Metro could return to the Board with a proposal to finance the project through a revenue bond secured against the future revenue."

What's Metro's best guess about that future revenue? Oh, somewhere between "$16 to $178 million over the life of the ten-year license." That's a pretty broad range. With guesstimates like that, it's no wonder there's a budget gap.

At least Metro realizes that even under the most optimistic assumption, TMC is not going to come close to recouping the over $35 million Metro makes annually from an existing contract for static advertising with CBS Outdoor, which ends in June 2010.

What are your ideas for Metro to generate new revenue streams?

Other items of interest:
GGW is offended by an ad
Critics of Dulles Extension (Examiner)
WTOP's take on Dulles Extension construction
Part 2 of an excellent Newshour series on public transport (audio)
N22 Bus getting the ax
Don't park at Huntington #3 this weekend
Metro agrees to share data with Google (GGW)


JHH said...

Charge $3 per ride period. get rid of exit machines.

Anonymous said...

What a boondoggle

Anonymous said...

strike a deal with mcdonalds to offer discounts for fare cards that have balances of less than the minimum ride.

Anonymous said...


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