Local drivers will soon start seeing advertisements on the side of TAPS Public Transit vehicles.


As TAPS prepares to relaunch advertising services, it will have new guidelines for what can and should be advertised on the side of local buses. The TAPS Board of Directors recently approved a set of guidelines for the organization’s bus-wrap advertising, which was discontinued amid the organization’s financial crisis in 2015. The topic was tabled by the board in August in order to give TAPS staff more time to draft formal procedures for advertising.


“We are not going to promote alcohol sales, as an example, and basically across the industry that is the norm,” Transdev General Manager Josh Walker said.


Under the terms of the policy, tobacco and smoking products, services related to human sexuality and reproduction, and gambling products and services will not be allowed to be advertised on TAPS buses. This is due to a necessity to accommodate riders of all ages, and to protect underage users from advertising that would be inappropriate.


Advertising that is derogatory to people because of race, national origin, ethnic background, religion or gender will also be banned from being placed on TAPS buses. Additionally, advertising that is derogatory to TAPS or promotes competing transportation services will also not be allowed.


Political advertising will also not be accepted under the new terms.


The approved rates for advertising match what was previously proposed by TAPS staff earlier this summer. The new rates will range from $100 to $500 per month, per vehicle, based on the size, location and length of time for the advertisement campaign, Walker said.


In the lead up to relaunching the campaign, TAPS ran a test with a non-profit in Wise County to positive results, with other area groups expressing interest in advertising.


This move by TAPS comes as the organization has considered and pursued various efforts aimed at increasing its local funding for transportation services. These local funds can then be used to leverage additional federal and state grant funding. As TAPS funding is split between rural and urban transit, Walker said the location where an advertisement runs would affect which local match pool it contributes to.


Despite the initial interest, Walker said he does not have any firm clients lined up for the new advertising service. In addition to local non-profits, Walker said he received calls from national and regional groups who were interested.


“No one’s come calling at this particular time, which I am thankful of because I’d rather that happen when we are ready to do business,” Walker said.