Some riders — and readers — have wondered just how much does Metro’s latest marketing blitz called, Metro Forward, cost? It required no increase in funds, said Metro’s spokesman Dan Stessel. But some — who have a lawsuit against the agency — don’t appear to be fans.

The campaign launched last week is part of Metro’s attempts to try to better inform its riders of repair and maintenance work that’s going on in the system. Stessel said it is part of the agency’s $1.8 million marketing budget and that it is not an additional expenditure.

The marketing budget, he said, is spent on putting ads in local newspapers, including the Washington Post’s Express, and other publications to let riders know of work being done on the bus and rail systems.

Stessel said an agency — Williams Whittle — was brought in as part of a contract worth up to $1.2 million to help place ads and set up templates to run the Metro Forward project. About $204,000 was spent to do the initial work for Metro Forward, he said.

“This is a low-cost, high-impact project,” Stessel said, noting that the way Metro figures it — its 1.2 million riders paid about 17 cents each for the work.

Williams Whittle’s work on the Metro Forward campaign included designing templates, taking photos of models (who by the way are actual Metro riders, Stessel notes), writing some content for its Web site and hiring a subcontractor to do a video of Metro General Manager Richard Sarles.

But the Metro Forward launch on the transit system’s Facebook page wasn’t well received by all.

Stessel said “a group of people who were involved in a lawsuit with us involving a Metro Transit police officer’s pension tried to comment inappropriately on our Facebook site.”

“Our social media guidelines do not permit comments that are completely unrelated to the topic at hand,” Stessel added.

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