Seeing Red On Metrorail’s Green Line

This Green Line WMATA Metrorail train has me seeing red in the morning and not because of the Nats.

I am seeing red because the advertising-free clean lines of the original Metro design are being distorted by crass consumerism.

Yes, WMATA should be looking for alternate revenue sources because the three states it serves chronically underfund mass transit. But aggressive advertising like this visual assault is over the line.

What next? WMATA pimping Bemmers in Metro stations?

21 Comments so far

  1. Jack (unregistered) on April 23rd, 2007 @ 9:08 am

    Add to that the announcement of the virtually useless expansion of the yellow line during non-rush hour times (I only have to wait 12 minutes instead of 18!) last week in which there were 4 people per station handing out yellow fliers that were 2/3 ads for zipcar and starbucks.

    Ride on the Red line and they’ve done cartoon style advertisements on the walls of the tunnel for Cadillac (who riding the metro can afford one of those?) and Target.

    I’d rather have that kind of advertising than pay double for my fare (and PS the ING all orange trains are worse)


  2. Wayan (unregistered) on April 23rd, 2007 @ 9:30 am

    The Yellow Line expansion isn’t useless if you live on its new northern run. Then its a great shortcut to National Airport & NoVA shopping (not that I do the latter).

    And I’m much rather pay more for my metro trips, or better yet have VA & MD (mostly VA) pay their fair share of WMATA funding, than be subjected to Cadillac, Target, or ING ads.


  3. Jack (unregistered) on April 23rd, 2007 @ 9:44 am

    You’re right, it’s not useless. When I need to go to National or catch a train at night it’s very helpful. More helpful would be using it during rush hour too. That’s my big problem with the ‘big favor’ of the expansion (and maybe a little bitter they changed it after I quit my bartending gig downtown).

    having VA and MD pay their share of WMATA would be great but honestly, the shrink-wrapped trains don’t bug me that much. You see them for 30 seconds and then you’re inside them. I just read the paper or a book and ignore the ads as best possible.


  4. Bill McNeal (unregistered) on April 23rd, 2007 @ 9:56 am

    I wouldn’t worry about responding to the “useless” yellow line expansion comment. Anyone who actually lives anywhere north of Chinatown on the green line and uses it on a regular basis knows how useful it is.


  5. Bill McNeal (unregistered) on April 23rd, 2007 @ 10:02 am

    I’ll also add that the yellow line can’t run during rush hour because they use the trains that they use for the off-peak expansion during rush hour on the green line or elsehwere. This was a great pilot program, pushed largely by CM Graham, to utilize cars that were sitting empty in off-peak hours and provide expanded service to Ward 1.

    As far as the ads go, they really don’t bother me. Actually, I”m kind of surprised people are acting like the ads reach out and stab them in the eye and knock them down and kick their dog everytime a train passes. It’s just an ad. Geez. We see them (and ignore them) all day long wherever we go.

    I would like to see Metro do a better job of marketing public transportation and themselves with the adspace that they have in bus shelters, stations, etc.

    Added revenue streams are almost always a good idea for the cash-strapped Metro system.


  6. Hy Hy (unregistered) on April 23rd, 2007 @ 10:11 am

    Are you really “subjected” to Target, Cadillac, and ING ads? What’s plastered on the outside of the train really bothers you when you’re inside of it? You can’t help but to stare out the window as you speed between Chinatown and Union Station on the Red Line outbound only to be offended by a Target ad that lasts all of ten seconds? Yes, these things that you can in no way avoid are definitely far worse than if Metro were to price gouge any more than they already do.

    P.S. – Until they permanently extend the yellow line expansion from Fort Totten to Greenbelt, yes, it is worthless to anybody who lives in West Hyattsville and points north. For a transfer, I’d much rather wait at the enclosed Mount Vernon Square station than on the poorly-designed, semi-open Fort Totten platform, especially in winter.


  7. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on April 23rd, 2007 @ 11:13 am

    I’ve seen a ton of different full car ads, some for defense contractors, some for other local groups, but they don’t bug me if it doesn’t mean more fare increases…


  8. Wayan (unregistered) on April 23rd, 2007 @ 11:34 am

    Yes, HY, large car ads do assault me, Bill, they do stab me in the eye. They are massive visual pollution on an otherwise calming Metro ride, and violate the very design of Metro.

    As to the in-tunnel ads, I find those to be the worst. At the minimum, they can be disorientating for anyone not expecting them, and again, I find them visually corrupting.

    Now I am not against a total ban, the light boxes are tolerable, and the right in-tunnel ads could actually stimulate ridership.

    But the all-rail car ads – no redeeming characteristics at all.


  9. Jack (unregistered) on April 23rd, 2007 @ 11:52 am

    Bill – I happen to live near Columbia Heights, and I find it pretty annoyingly useless.

    Like I said, it would be better if they ran it during Rush Hour too, and am bitter about them coming up with the idea after it would have been more usefull personally. I know how agonizing the 12-18 minute waits are, it just should be done all the time, starting a long time ago


  10. Hy Hy (unregistered) on April 23rd, 2007 @ 12:59 pm

    “Otherwise calming metro ride”? What city’s Metro are you riding? Everyday my senses are assaulted with cell-yellers and Nextel “chirp” phone users, idiots blasting their music for all to hear (“This iPod goes up to eleven”), people behind me coughing onto the back of my neck, screaming teenagers, and inconsiderate slobs taking up a whole bench with their gear during rush hour. Compared to all of that, one doesn’t give a crap about the advertising. Besides, if we’re concerned about aesthetics, I’d rather have a car that has a newly slapped on advertising shroud on its exterior than some ratty oxidized canister like you see in some other cities.


  11. Wayan (unregistered) on April 23rd, 2007 @ 1:34 pm

    HY, Wow, I think you might not be the right person to ride mass transit. You seem a little high-strung about co-sharing your environment with others. Driving could be a better experience for you.

    As for me, I do find the Metro ride calming, way better than driving and one of the best Metro experiences worldwide – and I’ve been on a few. One of the calming influencers is a lack of egregious advertising.

    Jack, I too wish the Yellow Line extension pilot was full-time, especially during Rush Hour. Here’s to hoping it will be.


  12. Tiff (unregistered) on April 23rd, 2007 @ 2:12 pm

    Yes, I suspect that HY would be happier in his/her own car (I know that I am). But then when we make that choice to avoid getting sneezed on, squished, or otherwise assaulted on Metro, we have to listen to people pontificate about how important “Car-Free DC” is. *cough*. Apparently you’d like to have it both ways, but that isn’t going to work.

    Read a newspaper if the ads bother you so much. Maybe with enough revenue, Metro can actually start running the 8 car trains at the frequency the system was designed to handle. And then we can have uncrowded trains, which are more attractive to erstwhile car commuters, and everyone wins.


  13. Hy Hy (unregistered) on April 23rd, 2007 @ 2:22 pm

    You guys are missing my point, which is that there are far more irritating things than advertisments. The benefits of taking metro as opposed to driving are usually enough to counter the other stuff (with the aid of a personal music device and a book/newspaper). Driving in this city is a whole other separate hell.


  14. Wayan (unregistered) on April 23rd, 2007 @ 3:12 pm

    HY, agreed, there are other annoyances on the Metro. Ads just happened to be the one I noticed today, the sign jumping out at me as I went to board the train. I’ll go for a iPod audio the next time I can rock out on someone else’s tunes from 1/2 a car length away.

    Tiff, I am all about Car Free DC, and I am very pro-Metro. But if its too much for some people, let them drive. They can have their solo happiness as they sit in traffic.

    Uncrowded trains are a dream, no matter how many 8 car trains WMTA puts out – unless you ride on the weekends or late night.


  15. PKH (unregistered) on April 24th, 2007 @ 12:38 am

    If you have an issue with too much advertising talk to Viacom, they give metro a set amount of money every year to sell their ad space.


  16. Justin (unregistered) on April 24th, 2007 @ 12:44 am

    Wow… some people whine too much…


  17. John (unregistered) on April 24th, 2007 @ 9:05 am

    Metro isn’t underfunded. The problem is not with revenue but with costs. One example, union employees who earn $65K salaries retire early and earn $80K for life in pension benefits. Most organizations who do this would have been bankrupt by now but instead we keep pumping more money into trying to solve the problem. This problem with outrageous overtime and pensions is documented here:
    http://www.examiner.com/a-669683~Metro_drivers_make__100_000_in_pay.html


  18. Don (unregistered) on April 24th, 2007 @ 12:20 pm

    The suggestion that these aren’t so bad because other things are worse strikes me as akin to saying you shouldn’t mind me you kicking me in the shin since that other dude already punched you in the face. If there’s a lot of things unpleasant about the experience shouldn’t we use that as a reason to NOT add on more unpleasantness?

    The full-car/bus ads are gaudy and ugly. They’re not the worst thing ever but is it really asking so much to have a few non-monetized surfaces from WMATA?


  19. Mike (unregistered) on April 24th, 2007 @ 12:34 pm

    Oh please, Metro needs MORE advertising, not grumbling about the few ads we do see.

    Now, I’m the first to admit that Metro’s unadorned, water-stained poured concrete walls illuminated by indirect fluorescent lighting is the perfect complement to the dull, turd-brown tiling and signage found in every station.

    But sometimes I yearn for more, oh, color! And interesting things to look at! And the knowledge that Metro is bringing in some much-needed cash!


  20. Ben (unregistered) on April 26th, 2007 @ 3:00 pm

    You were “assaulted” by Metro advertising? I hope you called the police.

    Seriously, I can’t believe anyone would find the ads so bothersome. Metro is hemmoraghing money, and while we could debate for years the best way to fund it and operate it, until that happens advertising is going to continue to serve as a much-needed cash boost. So some ads are more of an eyesore than others? It beats paying $4 to ride from Bethesda to DuPont.


  21. Ben (unregistered) on April 26th, 2007 @ 3:07 pm

    “Metro isn’t underfunded.”

    Perhaps, but the lack of a consistent, dedicated funding stream is having a significantly negative impact on long-term planning and growth. An adequately-funded system should have had a line to Dulles and extensions of the red and green line in place by now.



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