"Station Domination," Paid Parking and More Money-Makers the DART Board Will Consider

Categories: Transportation
CubanDartBus.jpg
Pulled up behind one of these two weeks ago. The 7-year-old in the backseat thought it was hilarious.
Last month we noted that the Dallas Area Rapid Transit board is considering selling ads for beer and wine on buses and light rail -- which, right now, is prohibited by policy just because. After the jump you'll find the board's back-and-forth over that very subject, which could prove controversial; board member Pamela Dunlop Gates says "advertisers must be sensitive to neighborhoods who don't want" alcohol ads, per the minutes from the last meeting.

But that chitchat veered into more than a few lanes: As you'll see on the other side, it also deals with the concept of wrapping trains, a la the TRE Silver Bullet train that rode the rails during the Super Bowl. Then there's this not-entirely novel concept, which will be discussed at today's meeting of the board's Revenue Committee: selling the naming rights to stations. Why not, since the city and the Dallas Independent School District are already floating similar proposals? Or selling the entirety of Mockingbird Station to a single advertiser: "the concept of dedicating exclusive use of all advertising space at a particular rail station to one advertising client -- a concept also known as 'station domination,'" says today's agenda.

And then there's this unrelated money-maker: paid parking at the Parker Road and North Carrollton/Frankford stations following a public hearing last summer that didn't bother residents (who won't be charged) but ticked off non-DART-sales-tax-paying residents hit with the $2 to $4 daily charge. A resolution allowing for a one-year paid parking "demonstration" at the stations is on the agenda.

From the minutes of last month's meeting of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit board's Revenue Committee:
Ms. Bauman said staff has done a great deal of research on the beer and wine content, and have found that most of advertising in transit for such is on the northeast coast. About 75% of transit authorities have active banns in their policies against alcohol advertising; 100/0 of the transit industry specifically allows this type of advertising in their policy; areas such as New York, Boston, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis. DART's policy has been moot as far as banning, but DART's practice has been active in banning. Committee Members have the opportunity to include our ability to add the market of wine and beer into policy language.

Ms. Dunlop Gates asked how much money has been forecast into the budget for beer and wine advertising? Mr. Leininger said he has not assumed a policy change, so therefore no monies have been forecast.

Ms. Bauman said if the Board allows beer and wine advertising, the market would have a potential of generating $200,000 to $400,000 annually, per DART's contractor. DART's market base would be broaden, allowing advertisers to participate who have in the past, been banned.

• Other Advertising Revenue Opportunity

Chair Danish said a wrap for the Super Bowl on the TRE Silver Bullet paid $40-$50,000. Ms. Bauman said that was an estimated amount. She continued to explain that Fort Worth's total revenue for advertising for the entire year is only $300,000; $100,000 is bus bench advertising.

Ms. Ellerbe asked if the price would be what DART receives, or would it be shared? Ms. Bauman said DART has a fixed contract rate with Titan and gets a guaranteed amount, plus a percentage; it's a one year total bottom line.

Mr. Chrisman asked if Titan has all of DART's advertising, we couldn't take any part out to the public? Ms. Bauman said the advantage to DART is the leveraging of advertising. If DART adds other markets that Titan can sell, it would cost DART money.

Ms. Wilkins asked for clarification, that our current contract is not to advertise on our rail lines? Ms. Bauman said that is excluded, the advertising policy would have to be changed.Ms. Bauman said these types of screens can be shared with advertising and to provide information for customers; it can offset some of the costs for various methods of communication. Revenue generated is relative to what can be sold and what the market will bear.

Ms. Dunlop Gates stated that previously there had been some discussion about if an advertiser did not have the ability to put beer and wine ads on shelters, there wouldn't be much of an interest in bus shelters outside the Central Business District (CBD). If we give authority to a vendor to solicit beer and wine advertising, then it changes the entire landscape.

Ms. Bauman responded that the billboard industry has its code conduct relating to alcohol and beer. This type of advertising cannot be within 500 feet of a church or school, and within 200 feet of a package store.

Mr. Williams asked about the possibilities for advertising on the benches. Ms. Bauman responded that most of DART's benches are concrete with the DART logo and do not have backs.

3. *Amendment to DART Board Policy 111.06, Advertising and Concessions Policy Ms. Bauman briefed the Committee (slides on file with the Office of Board Support) as follows:

Ms. Ellerbe made a motion to approve that DART Board Policy 111.06, Advertising and Concessions Policy, is amended as shown in Exhibit 1 to this resolution. Mr. Chrisman seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously.

Chair Danish commented that with the advent of the recent election that puts beer and wine in convenience stores throughout Dallas and all throughout Irving, and asked what is the rationale to try to control beer and wine advertising? He stated that obviously DART Boards preceding the current Board had reservations about beer and wine. The T allows beer and wine in their advertising.

Mr. Chrisman said his concern is about changing the policy to allow wraps, and asked if based on the way the amendment is read (Advertising and Concessions Policy, on file in the Office of Board Support), is it very clear that both commuter and light rail cars can be wrapped? Ms. Bauman said that is the intention.

Mr. Chrisman asked if anyone is against the beer and wine advertising? Ms. Dunlop Gates stated that she has an issue with saturation. She continued that self regulation does not work in communities of color, historically and speaking from personal experience and not hearsay.

Mr. Chrisman asked Ms. Dunlop Gates if she would be okay with the policy change if the last line were dropped? Ms. Dunlop Gates said she is alright with the other option being considered, but beer and wine changes the dynamics, and advertisers must be sensitive to neighborhoods who don't want it.

Mr. Sinunons, DART General Counsel, stated that the word "regulation" was left out and will be added.

Mr. Cheney commented that as long as advertising is regulated on taste and committee standards, we should sit around and look at it from a moral standpoint.

Ms. Ellerbe said that personally if she had a choice, it would be that nothing was done to any of our vehicles; however she continued, there is not much choice.

Mr. Williams said he is completely sensitive to issues Ms. Dunlop Gates has raised, especially from a historical perspective. He continued that DART is in a budget crisis, and if this is a means to have revenue to maintain, and possibly return a level of service to the transit dependent population, then he is in agreement.
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Fletch
Fletch

At the core of this issue is the contention that Plano residents have complained of inadequate parking at Parker Road.  Granted, I don't use the Parker Road station very often for various reasons, but I have never seen a time when every single spot is in use.  Perhaps back in 2007-2008 when gas was near $4/gallon but many people still had jobs to go to, but not now.  Even if the lots are full, the nearby Kohl's also allows DART users to use the far end of its lot as well.  The problem I see is a lack of seats on trains.  Early morning southbound trains leaving Parker Road station aren't completely full, but they're close.  DART is solely to blame for that with their schedule cutbacks.  At the end of the day, DART will still be a grossly inefficient operation regardless of how much money they charge for fares and parking.

Mike Renford
Mike Renford

I wonder why the DART board wouldn’t want to put these advertising opportunity’s out for BID?   The rfp process would have a lot of interest in the industry and would also guarantee DART more revenue. With this no-bad award they are not guaranteed any additional revenue from Titan for allowing them to advertise on these amenities, seems odd especially when I thought that was the purpose. 

DART got $11.2 Million guaranteed for just the Bus advertising imagine what guaranteed revenue they could get from this. 

Ben Dover
Ben Dover

The lack of ample parking is the result of poor planning by the DART Board. How many spaces per locations were planned and why? What was the basis of the parking plan? Once again,taxpayers are going to be asked to pay for a lack of planning.Is there no parking requirement that other cities use in mass transit? If there is a charge for parking , it should be charged by the cities with meters or retailers should put up towing signs for non-customers.This forces the burden back to DART where the problems originated.I would recommend to the DART Board that they purchase additional land for parking or partner with paid lots.In the future, DART may wantt o consider parking requirements .

Guest
Guest

What if a person has to drive a rental or loaner car that may or may not be registered in a DART member city?

What if a person is a college student who resides in a DART member city while at school but whose car registration goes back home for the 'rents to pay?

What if a person drives a car that's registered to their company that's HQed in a DART member city even though they don't actually live in a DART member city?

Or do residents get some sort of special parking pass to use at these stations? (And, if so, what's to prevent people who don't ride DART from giving or selling their passes to their non-member-city buddies?)

Octuplicate
Octuplicate

Here's an idea:  Charge for overnight parking so people can use mass-transit to get to and from DFW and Love.  Otherwise, why start service to DFW?

Guest
Guest

When I lived in West Plano, I did a lot of my taxable shopping in Frisco because the stores (and a lot of restaurants) were closer and (at the time) easier to get to than a lot of shopping in Plano.

It would've been difficult to say that I deserved free DART parking based on the idea that I'm paying DART taxes virtue of my living in a DART city even though I was spending a lot of my taxable dollars outside the DART collection zone.

(Even today, I live in Dallas but do a lot of shopping in Plano because it's really, really close. But since both are DART cities, that particular issue doesn't come into play).

tram rider
tram rider

The Mockingbird station usually has available parking. If parking availability is an issue, then I'm fine with paid parking. But I think a better idea to generate revenue would be to charge for spaces closest to the station or provide covered parking with a fee while still giving others the option of free parking.

Fletch
Fletch

If DART has its way and ultimately starts to charge for parking, I wonder how much of their ridership will dump riding DART altogether.  I live in Allen, so I would be one of those charged and I can practically guarantee that I wouldn't use DART if it cost $6-8 ($4 local day pass/$2-4 parking) each day.  The Bush Turnpike station, which I use, would likely see a surge in use as people drive a bit further to save the parking costs associated with Parker Road.  The lots would probably be completely full by 7 a.m. or earlier.

The trains are very overcrowded as it is now.  Traveling by DART is seldom comfortable and many times inconvenient.  I can only justify it because it's a little cheaper and northbound 75 traffic usually sucks in the evening.  I doubt any exodus from DART would lead to noticeably heavier traffic volumes on 75, but I do think their ridership would drop precipitously.  Then it becomes a matter of whether or not the increased revenues from paid parking could offset the loss in fares.

Downtown_worker
Downtown_worker

I'm tired of the DART train's sedated Highland Park housewife voice. Why not sell the right to be the voice of DART trains for a month? Combined with selling naming rights to stations, we could one day hear different voices announce "now arriving... Pepsi Station... final destination... Verizon Wireless Station..."

Phelps
Phelps

board member Pamela Dunlop Gates says "advertisers must be sensitive to neighborhoods who don't want" alcohol ads, per the minutes from the last meeting.

I believe that the recent referendum invalidated that concern.  Beer and wine sales are legal all over the city; beer and wine ads should be legal all over the city.  I don't want a municipally owned entity like DART preaching morality -- I want everything legal treated the same.

scottindallas
scottindallas

not within 1500ft of a school!  or whatever it is.  Maybe we can get chameleon type bus ads; you know, that change when near a school, church or teetotaler

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

so on the low end at $2 a day itll cost a weekday worker 40 bucks a month, not too bad until you think that, thats $40 additional dollars on top of the $100 system pass, and if they go up to $4 a day then its $80 on top, and at $180 bucks month and the the hour it takes to get to downtown on the train and does that really keep poeple out of there cars and get them on the train?

Borborygmus
Borborygmus

Tim, can we not look at it as if the residents in DART paying cities have already paid for their parking by reallocating 1% of their sales taxes to this (as opposed to using it to build a stadium for their community).  They should be deserving of some discount over non-paying DART riders.

DuckDuckGoose
DuckDuckGoose

Let non-DART communities pay to park at the DART stations.  For example, the Central / Bush station lot fills up every morning - early - and my informal survey of riders shows many from far-far North, non-DART communities.

TimCov
TimCov

I can understand the irritation some may feel toward those who ride DART and don't live in a city that pays the DART tax. However, I thought part of the reason for DART is to get people of the roads in Dallas and reduce air pollution. How is charging people to park and ride into downtown (which is what most of these people are doing) will accomplish this. Instead, it will result in more people driving into Dallas. But, maybe that is the DART board's goal, to reduce the number of people using their service.

Titus Groan
Titus Groan

Tim, you forget that DART considers its passengers an annoyance who should feel grateful for the privilege of riding.

Montemalone
Montemalone

Paying an extra $2-3/day to park still allows people to save money, as gas is only going up. Paying $8-10/day for fuel adds up quick.

Fletch
Fletch

True, but if you're already having to drive 10 miles or more to get to the DART rail station (that happens to be on the way to work) and work isn't but 15 miles beyond that, then the dollars and sense picture gets fuzzy.  I suppose it ultimately depends on a person's individual situation and how many MPGs he/she gets.

NotTheSuburbs
NotTheSuburbs

I'm not so sure it would reduce total ridership on the Red Line.  On rush hour trains, all the seats are filled at Parker road.  I know some people aren't willing to board at Bush Turnpike and stand for the 32 minute trip to downtown.  My bet is that if you decreased ridership at Parker Road, ridership down the line would increase as people realize that they are now able to get a seat.

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