If you happen to see the Urban Train zip by looking like it has been the target of graffiti, fret not. Starting this week, the mass transportation system will begin pulling double-duty as a rolling billboard, with the addition of “wrap around” advertising.
During a news conference Wednesday, Urban Train Executive Director María Elena Cristy offered details of the project that consists of covering four of the train’s cars with advertising for Scotiabank, the first customer to sign up to the new service.
“Today we present the first ‘train wrapping’ to be done in Puerto Rico. This is an innovative new advertising medium that uses our public transport system, which is used daily by thousands of people and thousands more watch as it passes through the three municipalities the Urban Train crosses,” Cristy said.
The Urban Train has been operating for six years, showing a constant growth in passenger traffic. In October, the number reached a record-breaking 50,672 passengers, she said.
José Díaz, senior vice president of individual banking at Scotiabank, said “life in the Urban Train consists of discovering new places, new stations, new directions. As we mark a new beginning in our history in Puerto Rico and after 100 years on our island, today we celebrate the beginning of a new Scotiabank Puerto Rico.”
The advertising effort comes on the heels of Scotiabank’s full integration of R-G Premier Bank, which it bought in April 2010. Over the weekend, the bank’s systems were unified and the R-G brand disappeared, as News is my Business first reported.
“To celebrate big, today we’re the first to join the Urban Train in this new initiatives. For us, this represents a new push toward the future,” he said.
Neither the Urban Train’s management nor Scotiabank revealed the ad campaign’s economic impact.
While this is the first time the government will use the Urban Train as an advertising medium, it is not the first instance it is using public property to generate extra income. Many public buildings in the San Juan metro areas are draped with oversized publicity.
Transportation Secretary Rubén Hernández-Gregorat said Wednesday the increase in Urban Train ridership has helped to attract private-sector companies like Scotiabank to see the vehicle as an advertising option.
“That people can have an economical, safe and reliable means of public transport has been and is our north, achieving this has meant that more and more people use the Urban Train as a transport vehicle, which makes it an attractive medium for those companies that want their message to reach train users,” he said.