PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Riders of Port Authority buses may have noticed some new sound on board their bus — audio advertising.

Megabus and South Side Jewelers are the first to place audio ads on board buses.

“Audio advertising is something that’s worked in other cities that have transit systems, so we thought we’d try it in this market,” says Jim Ritchie, Port Authority spokesperson.

The Port Authority says they are looking for ways to increase revenue without raising bus fares.

Here’s the way it works: using the same GPS tracking system that keeps track of every bus wherever in the system, once a bus hits a particular site, a 15-second ad will run.

Right now only five bus stops in the city trigger an audio ad:

  • Liberty at Wood, Downtown
  • Fifth Avenue at Smithfield, Downtown
  • Forbes and Murray, Squirrel Hill
  • Fifth Avenue at Atwood, Oakland
  • 18th and E. Carson, South Side

It’s not clear how bus riders will react to these ads, which just recently began.

“I don’t have a problem with it. I’ve lived all over the nation, and if it will keep the costs down, that’s wonderful,” said one rider.

But others want a little quiet on their bus.

“Terrible. There’s just too much noise everywhere. I don’t like it,” said another Port Authority rider.

As the pilot program continues, the Port Authority says it will assess public opinion before expanding the advertising.

“We’re monitoring our calls to the customer service center, of course, and we’ll also be doing a survey in a little while on the routes that use those stops to try to get some feedback,” notes Ritchie.

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