Reporting Bob Roberts
CHICAGO (WBBM) – Soon, like it or not, you will hear a lot more than bus stop announcements coming from the loudspeakers aboard some Pace buses. The suburban bus agency is resorting to a couple of controversial advertising proposals to help it raise cash.
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In addition to announcements for upcoming stops, Pace spokesman Patrick Wilmot said its buses will begin airing radio-style ads over their loudspeakers.
“This is going to start very small, only at our Southwest Division garage, which covers southwest Cook County,” Wilmot said. “We want to try this out as a way to bring in additional revenue.
The GPS transponders on each bus will decide which ads air and when — and will allow ads to be tailored to the neighborhoods through which the buses are running.
The other proposal could be even more controversial. Until now, Pace has not accepted ads for alcohol. The new policy will allow ads for alcohol in bus shelters, but only if local community leaders approve. As an incentive, Wilmot said, Pace will split the revenue with municipalities that go along.
That is far more restrictive than what was first proposed. The initial proposal would have called for alcohol ads on board buses as well as at shelters, but Wilmot said Pace board members objected.
Wilmot said riders can expect to see and hear the changes early next year.
Pace expects to make an additional $4 million over three years through the changes.