After 23 years of service without exterior advertising on its buses, BT obtained Town Council approval to begin advertising both inside and outside the buses in 2006. The program soon was generating an average net income of $62,600 per year. During the last three years, BT expanded its advertising program using direct mail with the tagline “There’s A Better Way To Reach People,” to target regional businesses. The results were immediate: The advertising program now generates an average of $123,000 annually, a five-fold increase in income generation since the program began. In May BT will start discussions with potential partners. There are three types of partners being discussed currently:
1. Financial Partners: Private organizations willing to sponsor and financially support BT service. These groups would provide funding to either directly support BT service, or more likely sponsor amenity improvements like stops and benches. Examples could include apartment complexes, large employers, or major retailers that would benefit from improved transit service. Possible sponsorship to explore here, include:
· Providing financial support for improved service
· Sponsoring amenities like bus stops
· Participating in a bulk pass program
2. Public Partners: While local government also contributes financially to BT, there are potential opportunities for additional collaboration. BT can be consulted during the site planning approval process for new construction. Developers may be requires to take into account transit operational needs, or even provide financial support / transit amenities as a means to offset parking requirements.
3. Non-Financial Partners: This is probably the loosest defined group but includes organizations or businesses that can be brought on board to promote BT service. I see it as community groups, businesses, or other stakeholders that might be interested in this plan and would like to get involved. These groups could include small businesses, churches, community organizations, and local non-profits. A focus group around these kinds of partners would be looking at:
· How their constituents or customers use transit
· Whether they would be interested in helping promote BT’s planning and expansion efforts.
· What could BT do to improve transit services.