Subway station agents and MetroCard vending machines in New York City have begun selling MetroCards displaying a front-facing advertisement for the first time, as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority pursues a new revenue stream.

Gap Inc. purchased the ad, which reads: "Be Bright NYC" with multicolored letters on a navy blue background.

Advertisements have appeared on the rear face of MetroCards since 1995; but in July, the MTA announced that it would itself begin selling commercial advertising space on MetroCards rather than hiring an intermediary, and that it would offer space on the fronts of the cards for the first time.

The Gap ad fills all available space on the front and rear of the cards.

 About 10% of the MetroCards sold throughout the system in a typical month will carry the Gap ad, the MTA said. Asked about revenue projections, a spokesman answered: "It's very early in the process, and largely depends on market response."

 The MTA faces financial pressures, including rising debt to cover major capital projects.

Its latest financial plan, released in July, projected deficits for 2014 through 2016.

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