By on May 19, 2015


Faced with a potential budget shortfall in the coming years, Kitsap Co., Wash.-based Kitsap Transit is eyeing liquor adverts to help with the bottom line.

The move to place said adverts on its fleet came as a suggestion from the authority’s advertising partner, Titan Outdoor, KOMO-TV reports. The ad agency takes half of all revenue made on ad sales related to Kitsap Transit, and is also in charge of the authority’s mobile ad program.

Executive Director John Clauson admits it would be hard to estimate how much additional revenue adding liquor advertising to the buses — adverts are only part of its budget, alongside local taxes and fare collection — but adds if doing so “adds an extra $20,000 a year, it’s tough to just walk away from it and say no.”

While the proposal would mandate “tasteful” advertising of liquor products and include responsible-drinking disclaimers, critics warn said adverts could encourage teenagers to drink. However, most riders are welcome to the idea, with reasons ranging from keeping fares low as a result of the increase in revenue, to freedom of speech for all advertisers.

The decision to go forward with the proposal may come as soon as the authority’s next board meeting June 2. If approved, Kitsap Transit would be the first transit authority in Washington state to allow liquor advertising on its fleet.

[Photo credit: Zargoman/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0]

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23 Comments on “Kitsap Transit Eyeing Liquor Advertising To Improve Bottom Line...”

  • avatar

    Never thought I’d see my home county on TTAC. Buses in that county are a small part of the transportation network as things are very spread out. Growing up, nobody I knew rode the bus, and you didn’t often see them on the road. Bremerton, because of the density and low income is the only place IIRC that buses are common.

    Stats: Milwaukee County, WI(my new place of residence): Buses provide 43 million rides a year for a population of 1 million.
    Kitsap: 2 million bus rides a year for a population of 250k.

  • avatar

    A very small part of the public transportation in the county. Only big population centers have buses. Bremerton, Poulsbo, Kingston, Bainbridge, Port Orchard. I could drive around all day and never see a bus, except for where the picture was taken near the Ferry Terminal.

    For those wondering, Kitsap is on the West part of the Puget Sound across from Seattle.

    • 0 avatar

      Not only does KT have next to no cross-town routes, even their inter-town routes are poorly planned. When I was living in Bremerton, my bus took over an hour to get to the Ferry terminal – what would normally be a nine minute drive.

  • avatar

    I find this interesting as I was under the impression these authorities were limited on the type of thing they could advertise (although this may vary from state to state).

  • avatar

    Given our state, there is something else they could advertise. On a drive up to Bellingham (those who live in this state are going to say – well, duh), I saw my first billboard advertising marijuana. So why not expand the outreach, and given the rural nature of much of Kitsap county, at least a good a fit as demon alcohol.

  • avatar

    I thought about using the bus from Navy housing down to the shipyard when I lived there because parking for ship’s company attached to vessels in overhaul really sucked. Too much lost time on the bus for a trip of 10 to 15 minutes. Even though I often needed to park several blocks away from the yard I still saved a ton of time by driving and didn’t need to follow their incompatible schedules. The liquor ads, though, make good business sense with all the sailors in the area LOL.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Teenagers don’t need a bus advertisement to encourage them to drink.

    • 0 avatar


      “critics warn said adverts could encourage teenagers to drink”

      Yeah, because they never had the idea of drinking – and finding it illegally, since they’re underage – before this ad on a bus.

      Why, teens have never even *heard* of liquor outside of bus ads…

    • 0 avatar

      Absolutely right.

      In Toronto, by way of contrast, not only is liquor advertising allowed, but Corby Distilleries paid the cost of operating the entire transit system on New Year’s Eve, so all rides were free. It was very well received, needless to say.

  • avatar

    Please forgive my confusion. Why is this on TTAC?

    • 0 avatar

      Political and anything controversial issue is becoming the norm on TTAC. More clicks = more revenue. If it has to due with transportation of any sort I guess it is fair game for those clicks.

  • avatar

    Sounds like Kitsap Transit has determined the solution to its “potential budget shortfall” is not to spend less but to encourage drinking more.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Oh, this could be entertaining.

    “Get On The Bus!”

    “Don’t drink and drive. Drink and ride… with Captain Morgan!”

  • avatar

    Small Rural Transit Authority Needs Money. What a shocking fact.

    This system primarily exists to feed commuters to the ferries that cross Puget Sound into Seattle. Beyond commuter services to the ferries it’s skeletal, as you’d expect in an area that has three towns big enough for big-box stores and is otherwise decidedly rural.

  • avatar

    As a Seattle resident, I had to check that this wasn’t sourced from the ‘mostly factual’ Kitsap Report (no “er” at the end) as the article’s subject is quite interesting and it’s something The Kitsap Report might just write. Good to find out that it isn’t.

    [BTW, if you want some laughs, check TKR out as the articles have a The Onion-like flavor but with a rural local flair, but, best of all, read the comments of those taking the fake articles often quite seriously. No I do not work or am not affiliated with them, but have enjoyed several wipe-away-the-tears laughing episodes reading it. :) ]

  • avatar

    Please drink responsibly (NSFW).

  • avatar

    How about renegotiating their agreement with an advertising provider that sucks up 50% of every dollar of revenue? That’s a ridiculously bad deal. Irresponsibly so.

  • avatar

    “While the proposal would mandate “tasteful” advertising of liquor products and include responsible-drinking disclaimers, critics warn said adverts could encourage teenagers to drink.”

    I take issue with the fact that we need such disclaimers and warnings. Teenagers know better than to drink alcohol. When they end up doing so, it’s probably not because of advertisements they’ve seen. Adults also know better than to get blackout-drunk on alcohol and then go driving, and no “please drink responsibly” disclaimer is going to aid anything.

  • avatar

    Wouldn’t any underage teenagers, just hop the border to BC? Not sure if that happens a lot in Washington. I know there is some of that going on around Ontario (drinking age 19) and Quebec (18).

    • 0 avatar

      Well Kitsap county is far from just a hop across the boarder. Now when I was going to college in Bellingham it was not uncommon to hop across the boarder to BC to go to the strip club and drink legally. However it was also the norm just to stay in Bellingham because there was always a party going on somewhere and they never checked ID. It was also not a problem to have someone buy the alcohol for you, should you not feel like going to a party.

  • avatar

    When I first saw this item in the local paper, my first thought was that we must be in a different generation here in Kitsap County, to be worrying about alcoholic beverage ads on buses in comparison to the types of advertising that big-city transit systems have to deal with.

    There actually is a lot of bus riding going on in Kitsap County – we have several large U. S. Navy employers, and riding buses or carpooling has been a big deal as far back as I can remember. In fact, I talked to a Navy Yard old-timer who had carpooled with a couple of other guys from Tacoma in 1939 and 1940. I suspect that Kitsap Transit’s daily routes around the county aren’t a huge proportion of the total bus passenger-miles here.

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