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MTA Board Bans Alcohol Ads on Subways, Buses and Trains

By Gwynne Hogan | October 25, 2017 5:25pm
 Makers of beer, liquor and wine will no longer be able to buy ads in subway stations.
Makers of beer, liquor and wine will no longer be able to buy ads in subway stations.
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Courtesy Building Alcohol Ad-Free Transit

NEW YORK CITY — The MTA canned the sale of advertising to beer, wine or liquor producers, according to a decision made by board members Wednesday.

The MTA won't sell any new ads for alcohol of any MTA property, which includes Metro-North train cars, subway stations, inside cars, and on MTA buses, members of the authority's board decided at a Wednesday meeting.

Bus shelters are owned by the city, so the new rule doesn't apply there, according to MTA spokesman Shams Tarek. 

The decision will have a marked "impact on the communities and the children," said MTA board member Ira Greenberg. "This is a good step."

Alcohol ad sales represent a relatively low percentage of total advertising revenue, according to the MTA, though the specific amount was not immediately available.

The move comes after years of pressure from health and community groups, and local politicians, some of whom fall under the umbrella of a group called Building Alcohol Ad-Free Transit, who say the ads draw the attention of impressionable children, or are overwhelmingly located in low income communities.

"They place them in places next to an ad for a Minion trailer or their favorite toy, anything kiddish, they place alcohol advertisements next to them to catch their eye," said Kylie Cortez who works with two South Bronx youth organizations at helping prevent drug and alcohol use. Cortez and the children she works with have documented the ads across the South Bronx.

Members of BAAFT have turned out to MTA board meetings for months in droves, demanding that the MTA ban the sale of ads for alcohol.

Cortez hailed the vote as an opportunity for the children she works with to start "having a healthier lifestyle."

"This decision means that our voices are finally being heard," she said.