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You’ll soon have a billboard in your pocket, thanks to an MTA plan

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You’ll soon have a billboard in your pocket, thanks to an MTA plan to sell ads on the front of MetroCards.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority for the first time will allow companies to cover the front of the ubiquitous subway cards with advertising.

Ads on the back of the plastic travel passes date back to 1995, but have not done very well for the transit agency. But MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota thinks that ads on the front of the cards will provide a much bigger splash.

"Millions of New Yorkers carry MetroCards with them everywhere they go, and use them multiple times a day," said Lhota. "For those with a message and a desire to reach millions of people in a novel, attention-getting way, there is no better way to advertise."

The MTA charges 18 cents to 51 cents to advertise on the back of a MetroCard, depending on the volume. The minimum purchase is 50,000 cards and the maximum is 5 million, officials said.

The MTA hasn’t finalized the price rate for front-card advertising, but officials estimated it might be another 7 cents per card to advertise on both sides.

“There’s no better way of getting your message literally in peoples hands,” NYC Transit spokesman Paul Fleuranges said. “We think it’s an attractive platform. You don’t even have to flip it over. It’s right there - Pow! — on the front.”

The MTA produces 11 million MetroCards a month, Fleuranges said.
The front-of-the-card ads will occupy the space above the black magnetic stripe.

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