Burbank sells ad space on buses

Advertisements will soon be plastered onto Burbank's 28 buses as the city looks for untapped sources of revenue to recover costs for its cash-strapped transit programs.

The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a yearlong agreement — which can be terminated at any time — with mobile-advertising firm Titan Outdoors to sell, place and maintain advertisements inside and wrapped around the city's buses.

The program is expected to generate between $24,000 and $144,000 a year, or half of the profits the firm rakes in from the advertisements, city officials said. A minimum revenue guarantee, however, is not included in the agreement.

According to the agreement, advertising for alcohol and tobacco is prohibited, as are noncommercial advertising and political endorsements. The advertising limitations drafted in the agreement mimicked those of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said Burbank City Attorney Amy Albano.

"We do not want to allow the buses, the sides of the buses, to become a space for public debate," said Senior Planner Roy Choi.

The BurbankBus fleet includes 28 vehicles that travel along four fixed routes, along with providing door-to-door transportation services to senior and disabled residents.

The move marks the latest attempt by city officials to generate extra funds for the city's struggling transportation services. This summer, the council decided to cut Got Wheels!, Burbank's summer bus system for youth, and phase out the Metro bus pass subsidy for senior residents. Together, the program cuts will save the city nearly $100,000 a year in transportation funds.

City officials are also considering imposing a mandatory fare for the city's senior and disabled bus service. Patrons are currently asked to donate 50 cents for the ride.



Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.