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Michelle Obama Talks to Omnitrans Riders

Yes, that is Michelle Obama’s voice passengers hear when riding on Omnitrans buses in San Bernardino, CA.

The first lady’s public service announcement is among the messages delivered through an onboard GPS-based audio advertising service recently implemented by Omnitrans. Her announcement, “Better Make Room,” is part of her Reach Higher initiative to inspire every student in America to continue their education past high school. “You’re about to arrive,” she tells young people. “And the world better make room.”

To hear the PSA, click here.

Through a contract with Commuter Advertising, based in Dayton, OH, Omnitrans buses play short audio advertisements that can be delivered at specified times or locations, such as promoting a store located near the next bus stop or a restaurant special at breakfast time. A scrolling onboard LED text message supports the audio advertisement.

Omnitrans shares in the revenue generated by paid advertising. “But a greater value to Omnitrans is the ability to use the system to deliver key information to our own customers,” said spokesperson Wendy Williams. “We can inform riders of upcoming service changes, promote our online store or offer travel tips. It’s really the most effective way to reach all our customers.”

Since the system taps into Omnitrans existing GPS technology, the agency has no costs other than staff time to upload the latest batch of messages. Commuter Advertising produces the audio files, which are typically 15 seconds long.
Omnitrans is the first public transit system on the west coast to offer onboard advertising. Commuter Advertising operates in 11 media markets in the U.S.
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