I have no problem with this.
Metro has unsuccessfully floated the idea of placing advertising on buses and shelters, but lean economic times call for a renewed effort.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority has about 2,000 bus shelters in Houston, and the ads could mean $15 million to Metro in the first five years, according to the transit agency.
Metro, however, remains in the early stages of the proposal, and Houston’s City Council would have ultimate say, said Metro board member George A. DeMontrond III.
“There’s no sense debating it before we know if it’s going to be worthwhile,” DeMontrond said during a recent board meeting.
Metro could begin receiving formal proposals from advertising agencies by next summer.
I’ve already suggested they put ads in the light rail cars – if nothing else, they could be used to help businesses affected by rail construction – so I certainly see no problem with this. What exactly are the objections?
Mayor Bill White and some council members were among those who early on expressed reticence about Metro’s plan.
White’s administration has taken a hard-line stance on billboards that he and other leaders argue clutter the city’s skyline.
White suggested that Metro should first approach Houston’s beautification groups, which he referred to as “stakeholders,” to win their approval.
“I believe that Metro should engage with stakeholders, including people who have fought hard to improve the physical appearance of our city,” White said. “Those stakeholders should also engage with Metro to determine if there are sources of revenue that could help us expand mass transit without creating visual blight.”
Okay, I guess I understand that. I suppose I don’t think of bus stops as being particularly scenic myself, so I don’t see adding ads to them as much of a marginal detraction. But fine, let’s let the beautification folks have some input on this, as long as they are willing to be open-minded.
Speaking of (not) being open-minded:
If city leaders take up Metro’s proposal next year, Councilwoman Toni Lawrence said she would be a hard sell.
“The money is not reason enough for me,” she said. “Tell me something besides money.”
What more do you need to know? Seriously, what is the objection here? Metro isn’t doing this to increase profits, it’s doing it to cover costs. You’re going to have to give me a reason for opposing this potential revenue source besides that to convince me you’re not just being obstructionist. I just don’t see the problem.