Transportation
5:43 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Commission Considers Request To Block CATS Alcohol Ads

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Metropolitan Transit Commission will consider a request to reverse its decision allowing alcohol ads on the sides of buses and trains. Consider, yes.  But actually rescind the decision?  Not likely.

“I wouldn’t support changing the position,” says MTC member and Cornelius mayor Jeff Tarte.

Tarte says the commission will talk about the request from the Charlotte City Council at tonight’s meeting, but says the income from the ads – estimated to be nearly $600,000 annually – is too great to give up with CATS struggling to rebound from the recession.

“It has significant negative impact financially if we discontinue that advertising,” say Tarte. “It would require cuts in service.”

Or an increase in fare. The MTC unanimously approved the ads in June. That upset city council members opposed to the idea of city buses becoming billboards for alcohol. Hence the request for tonight’s review. The MTC could just shrug off the request, but member and Huntersville mayor Jill Swain says that would go against the historically good relationship between the two groups.

“I think it’s responsible for all of us to re-look at the issue as a courtesy to them,” says Swain.

CATS has already singed three contracts for the ads, but has held off on putting them up because of the council’s request for a review.