Comment 94845

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted November 18, 2013 at 13:43:19 in reply to Comment 94843

The problem is that the adverts on the HSR are not just generic public service messages, but are mostly aimed at social problems like alcoholism, child abuse, drug abuse (needle exchange programs), homelessness, emergency birth control, violence ("zero tolerance for violence") and subsidy programs for the poor. And there are always many adverts aimed at raising money or awareness for diseases (often using deliberately shocking language to get attention "cystic fibrosis is like drowning on the inside"). Although these are worthy issues and programs, the net effect on bus riders is to make their ride depressing. Why are bus riders forced to look at this smorgasbord of misery each time they ride the bus? It broadcasts the message that society considers that bus riders are a group of poor, homeless, violent drug abusers. And any casual rider is likely to be shocked by this very unusual range of advertising and wonder what sort of company they've got themselves into.

The contrast is driven home by the fact that the adverts on the OUTSIDE of the bus or, at bus shelters, are uniformly upbeat commercial ads for "normal" goods and services. In other words, society doesn't feel that motorists need to be informed of the important social problems and diseases that fill the inside of the bus.

The irony is that one of the largest groups of HSR users are high school, university and college students ... who are the prime target of advertisers. Why isn't the HSR highlighting the fact that many of their riders should in fact be a highly desirable audience?

Part of making transit attractive is making the ride pleasant ... filling the inside of the bus with depressing ads, full of graphic images and shocking messages, is not the way to succeed. Most other successful municipal transit systems do not do this, and neither does GO Transit.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2013-11-18 13:50:54

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