Turlock City Council unanimously approved a three-year contract for advertising on buses, with revenues going toward bus passes for charitable organizations.
The City of Turlock has contracted Alan Seaton Consulting Services to sell and maintaining advertisement on Turlock’s “Blast” and “Dart” buses, with $500 of the sales going to the City, since 1998.
However, last year, at Councilmember Amy Bublak’s request, City staff reviewed the process of the advertising service. On Oct. 24, 2014, the City issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the advertising services, which returned proposals from two companies.
Stott Outdoor Advertising, of Chico, and Alan Seaton, submitted proposals for the advertising services. Stott was deemed to best meeting the needs of the RFP.
As part of the agreed three-year contract, Stott will give the City of Turlock at least $3,000 per month for the first year of the three-year contract, and $4,200 per month the following two years.
That money goes toward purchasing bus passes for local charitable organizations. The City will distribute bus passes to We Care, United Samaritan Foundation, Turlock Gospel Mission, Children’s Crisis Center, Haven Women’s Center, Salvation Army – Turlock, and Turlock Unified School District.
“The revenue in the form of tickets benefits the City in two ways,” said Pitcock. “First, tickets can be distributed to charitable organizations, helping those that need help to enhance their mobility throughout the community. And second, the ticket purchased helps the City with what’s called our farebox ratio.”
The farebox ratio is the amount of money that comes in from ticket sales versus the total operating costs for the bus system. Currently, the farebox ratio for Blast is 15 percent and 10 percent for the Dart.
However, with current Stanislaus County population, Pitcock said the farebox will increase to 20 percent in 2016.
“One of the reasons for this doing that is if we do not meet the 20 percent farebox ratio, it is incumbent upon the City to find other means to meet that, which would probably be the general fund,” said Pitcock.
Councilmember Bill DeHart asked if it would have been possible to use decisions, such as the Chamber of Commerce contract for the Convention and Visitors Bureau, as leverage to get even more revenue, however when discussing the advertising services contract, the CVB contract was not in the discussion.
“I think there’s more to come, but for now there’s an increase,” said Bublak. “We’re trying to keep it more accountable, and trying to get more marketing out there — opportunities for other people to put in — and from that I think it was a good turnaround. I think there’s going to be more things that come this way and I look forward to it.
In addition to changing the contract for bus advertising, the City will also be reviewing the sign ordinance and possibly opening up advertising on bus stops and benches. That conversation, however, will not happen until most likely summertime.