Saturday, June 25, 2011

Muni's contempt for its passengers 3

Riding the #24 Divisadero bus up the hill from 24th Street is one of most scenic rides in San Francisco. The other day I was sitting on the east side of the bus, looking up at Twin Peaks on a beautiful day. Alas, Muni had one of those advertisements spread over the windows on that side of the bus, so that gorgeous view could only be glimpsed through the grid of dots. When I got off the bus, I saw that it was an ad for the latest Disney/Pixar cartoon about talking cars. The city that knows how shows contempt for the people who ride Muni, but that's not new. (I've complained about it before, and Maggie Lynch is checking on how much Muni makes on that advertising, but it's been almost four years, and I'm beginning to suspect she's not going to get that info for me.) 

I don't have anything against ads on Muni buses as a matter of principle. But can't they at least keep the windows clear? Is the amount of money they make covering the windows---as opposed to ads that don't cover the windows---worth the imposition on Muni passengers? Is this an issue that's even been debated by the MTA board? I know they're pretty busy crafting a golden parachute for Nat Ford and turning city streets over to the bike people.

You can learn more about the issue through the MTA's website:

The SFMTA also provides an opportunity for you to advertise on Muni Vehicles. Advertising on a Muni bus, cable car, or a Metro light rail vehicle is a cost-efficient way to blanket the city with your message. Your ads will travel through a city where people live, work, and visit.

Apparently Clear Channel is the city's vendor of choice for this crap that helps corporations "establish brand awareness" and "penetrate every part of a community with "dynamic displays" on buses. Check out their special approach to the growing "multi-cultural" market!

The MTA naturally has elaborate and detailed rules about the content of the ads they'll allow---no ads for tobacco or firearms!---but there's nothing that protects us from the contempt the folks who run the Muni system evidently have for their passengers.

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