MillerCoors, CTA debut campaign for "penny" rides on New Year's Eve

The CTA and MillerCoors today formally debuted its "responsible commuting" campaign on New Year's Eve with a mural of the city skyline made of 8,000 pennies.

MillerCoors is paying $1.3 million over three years to sponsor the CTA's New Year's Eve Penny Rides program. Service for a "penny" will begin at 10 p.m. on Dec. 31 and end at 4 a.m. Jan. 1. The CTA says each year an average 150,000 bus and train rides are taken on New Year’s Eve, so it's good to have MillerCoors as a sponsor.

The pennies mural, measuring about 6 feet by 4 feet, was unveiled at a news conference at the Clark/Lake station. It will be on display there through New Year's. As part of the campaign, 150,000 redesigned farecards will be printed with a reminder of the Penny Rides program and sold to riders over the next month. Also, starting this week, "customers primarily in the central business district will notice the promotional campaign on CTA rail lines," according to a CTA news release. MillerCoors will market a theme of responsible drinking with the tagline, “Great Beer, Great Responsibility.”

Any veteran CTA rider on New Year's Eve knows that generally that CTA doesn't really charge a penny, but by law it can't give away the rides. So it announces the "penny" rides program while bus drivers and station attendants usually just wave passengers through without paying.

MillerCoors was the first sponsor the CTA brought on board. The Sun-Times then was the First Day of School Free Rides program for $150,000. I'm a bit surprised there have been no takers so far to sponsor the Holiday Train.

Macy's, step up!

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