Metro’s Board of Directors voted to add advertising on digital boards and gates in Metro stations after a suggestion from Foggy Bottom’s Council member.
D.C. Council member Jack Evans, who is also on the Metro’s Board of Directors, said he wants to add more advertising to Metro stations – a revenue-generating idea he had after a recent trip to China. Evans and other city officials, including Mayor Muriel Bowser, visited China last month to promote investment in D.C.
Evans, who represents Foggy Bottom, rode the subway system in Shanghai during the trip and called it “spotless.” He said advertisements on the subway system there were plastered on seats, handrails and tunnels.
“If I want to hold down chairs and keep service and do all these things, I need more money. And advertising is the way to get it,” Evans said. “Whatever I can do to get revenue.”
Metro had $50 million less than usual in funding this year, after Congress voted to cut funding.
Evans said he encouraged Metro officials, including newly appointed General Manager Paul Wiedefeld, to model D.C.’s system on China’s.
“I said at a Metro board meeting that the manager and his staff really have to study Shanghai, and we added Beijing and Hong Kong because they have terrific subway systems,” he said.
Last year, a Federal Transit Authority report found Metro mishandled federal grant money, The Washington Post reported. It has also been under scrutiny this year after one woman was killed and more than 80 people were hospitalized when a car filled with smoke at the L’Enfant Plaza station in January.
Graham Jenkins, the vice chair and director of communications for the recently formed WMATA Riders Union, said that allowing the Metro to increase funding without increasing fares would be a “win-win” situation.
“We support most revenue measures that don’t cause a further financial burden for riders,” he said.
Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said Metro’s Board of Directors had also considered adding food vendors in Metro stations, but the measure was not approved.
“We will be looking for more opportunities going forward,” he said.