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MTA Advertising Policy Guidelines

Updated Apr 9, 2021
Our advertising policy establishes uniform, reasonable, and viewpoint-neutral standards for how print and digital ads are displayed throughout the MTA system.

Read our full policy

For information beyond these general guidelines, see our full advertising policy and review additional FAQs.

Ads we allow

  • Commercial ads. These promote a commercial transaction or an advertiser's brand.
  • Governmental notices. These are from the MTA, or are paid for by the federal, state, county, or city government.
  • Public service announcements. These are paid for by the government or nonprofit that relates directly to education, arts or culture, the prevention or treatment of illnesses, and other categories.

Ads that qualify under these guidelines can still be prohibited for other reasons, outlined below and in-depth in our advertising policy.  

We can also remove ads that we find violate our rules at any time.  

Ads we don't allow

  • Political ads. This includes ads that promote or oppose a political party, a candidate, or a ballot referendum. 
  • Ads promoting alcohol products.
  • Ads promoting any sexually oriented business. This includes sex toys for any gender. Ads with profanity or slang for the genitals or anus are also prohibited.

How the review process works

We rely on third parties called independent advertising licensees for most of the review of our ads. We review ads that these third parties determine are not or might not be allowed under our policy. 

You can submit drafts of your ads to our third-party reviewers to see if they comply with our rules. Our reviewers will often forward those drafts to us. Even if a preliminary ad is approved, you’ll still have to submit your final ad for review. 

If an ad prominently features a website address, we might take what’s on that site into account. (We generally don’t do this if the website is mentioned incidentally.) We’ll also consider your public statements about the proposed ad in our review process. 

What we require each ad to have

  • Clear communication about what’s being advertised. 
  • Indication of who paid for the ad, either in direct language or through context.

If this isn’t clear to us, we might ask you to include an explicit statement in the ad. 

We might allow what are called teaser campaigns, where it’s not immediately clear who paid for the ad. We’ll only do that if that information will be clearly communicated in follow-up ads that are posted within a reasonable amount of time. 

Contact us

If you have advertising questions or comments, please contact Lucy Zachman, director of advertising and customer experience, via email or at 212-878-7276.