With nearly 200 buses and more than 8 million riders per year, the Regional Transit Service (RTS) is Rochester’s primary mode of public transportation. Like most transit agencies, RTS has the ability to communicate with its riders through advertising and promotional campaigns. Some of these ads generate revenue for the transit agency to support its operations. Other ads are donated to not-for-profit and charitable organizations operating within the RTS service area. These “in-kind” donations provide free advertising in or on buses, bus shelters, and the RTS Transit Center for a 60-day period and are available to qualifying organizations once per calendar year. 

Earlier this year, when RTS Chief Customer and Community Engagement Officer Corinda Reaves identified ROC the Future Alliance (RTFA) as a qualifying organization, the RTS communications team couldn’t wait to get started. “ROC the Future Alliance’s mission to help children and students be successful and build a brighter, more positive future for kids is amazing,” said Laura Kenyon, RTS Director of Communications and Customer Experience. “We’re delighted to help support it.”

“The RTS team takes pride in being a good partner and supporter of critical community initiatives,” said Miguel Velázquez, RTS Chief Executive Officer. “The collaboration between RTS and ROC the Future Alliance is a great example of that. When organizations like ours come together on important programs that help children grow and succeed, everyone wins.”

The RTFA Backbone Team consulted with Parent/Family Partners (P/FPs) and decided to use the ads to promote our Parent Cafés, which the Whole Child Initiative is hosting to engage the Rochester community in improving the systems that serve families, such as education, health care, and human services. There are many different ways to advertise with RTS. RTFA chose three. 

The first is on the outside of buses, which is the format most people are familiar with. Seven buses will feature ads promoting Parent Cafés throughout the eight-week campaign. 

The second format is on the inside of buses using “railcards.” When people are riding the bus, they’ll see the ads from their seats. This is a popular format because bus riders have plenty of time to read the content, since they are a captive audience. 

The third is at the RTS Transit Center, where there are 26 digital monitors that display advertising and other content.

About 20% of the ads that RTFA created for the campaign are in Spanish to reach a larger and more diverse audience. “There’s a sizable percentage of RTS customers who speak Spanish,” explained Kenyon. “In our communications, we’re moving toward providing more information in Spanish as well as English. We were pleased to see that ROC the Future is ahead of the curve in this area.” 

The new digital ads are now live on a rotating basis on monitors at the RTS Transit Center. The printed ads will be installed on the outside of seven buses and on the inside of sixty buses later this month. Over the eight-week campaign, the ads will be seen an estimated 2.2 million times!

Many thanks to RTS for supporting our efforts to make Rochester a stronger community for all. To register for an upcoming Parent Café, please visit the ROC the Future Alliance website.