Metro has super idea to make more money
Metro is testing a new revenue stream, selling advertisements on the side of Melbourne's trains in a trial that state Transport Minister Terry Mulder has approved
Metro is testing a new revenue stream, selling advertisements on the side of Melbourne's trains in a trial that state Transport Minister Terry Mulder has approved METRO is testing a new revenue stream, selling advertisements on the side of Melbourne's trains in a trial that state Transport Minister Terry Mulder has approvedSince July 1, the rail operator has been running advertisements on the outside of three trains, for superannuation fund VicSuper.A Metro spokeswoman would not say how much the operator was being paid to run the ads, which are only on trains made by Siemens.Metro is carrying out the three-month trial to see if there is a market. Advertisements already cover about 40 of the city's 470 trams, and run on the sides and backs of many buses.In the early years of its contract with the government, former operator Connex sold advertising space on the sides of trains, but found the cost of installing and removing the advertisements wiped out most profits.Taxpayers own Melbourne's fleet of 193 six-carriage trains, but under the eight-year financial agreement with Metro in 2009 the operator leases them.A Department of Transport spokeswoman said that, under its contract, Metro could sell advertising space on any state-owned asset it managed, as long as the advertisements complied with all laws and were not offensive.The Rail, Tram and Bus Union said advertisements on trains were fine, so long as the money generated was ultimately put back into the system. ''There are much bigger issues Metro needs to focus on,'' said Grant Wainwright, spokesman for the union's rail division.Metro spokeswoman Geraldine Mitchell said the operator would keep all revenue generated by the advertisements, but that it was reinvesting other money it earned from running Melbourne's trains back into the system. ''Such advertising provides an opportunity to generate non-fare revenue and has proven to be effective for trams, buses and for other railways throughout the world,'' she said.Mr Mulder said the advertisements at this point were not intrusive, and did not cover windows. ''Whether or not Metro places advertising on its trains is a business decision for it,'' he said.But the opposition said Mr Mulder had failed to insist that at least some of the money from selling advertisements on publicly owned trains was put back into the rail system.''Has Terry Mulder sought to ensure that any of the revenue raised through advertising will go back into improving services, or will it just add to Metro's bottom line?'' spokeswoman Fiona Richardson said.The Public Transport Users Association said the simple advertisements that had appeared so far were not going to cause problems.''If they start blocking the windows as they do on trams, that would cause issues,'' said president Daniel Bowen.