NYC subway tunnels may be filled with ads


The NYC Metro Transit Authority (MTA) is looking to tap a huge amount of unclaimed ad inventory in the tunnels between stations. It would be pretty effective as well—all of those long, dark tunnels would be lit up with ads, and then fade to black again.

The way it would work is passengers would see a series of images, seemingly static until the motion of the train springs them to life, like a flip book, reports NBC New York.

The first tunnel to potentially get the new-age commercial would be the Times Square shuttle, in a pilot project.

“The MTA could raise between $100,000 and $1 million a year,” Aaron Donovan, an MTA spokesman, told NBC.

If the shuttle project is a success, there could be tens of millions of dollars in untapped revenue out there in between the city’s hundreds of stations. “The potential cash bonanza would be welcomed at the always budget-challenged transit authority, where chairman Jay Walder has vowed not to raise fares or slash service anytime soon,” said the story

The flip book-style advertising is already up and running on some parts of the PATH (The Port Authority of NY & NJ) train, as well as in transit systems in other cities, like the Tokyo subway.

As if heading off any challenges from advocacy groups, MTA has allowed a public art project, visible to riders on the B and Q train when crossing the Manhattan Bridge. But so far the story said the proposed tunnel ads aren’t attracting much opposition, at least so far. “Longtime critics of cluttering up the system with ads have softened their views in this punishing economy.”

RBR-TVBR observation: Along with saving riders a fare increase, this will be very effective ad space—especially with the “flip-book” effect and darkness in between. It may also comfort some of the riders in those dark corridors—especially when the train stops due to technical or logistical issues.