Advertisements on bus shelters?

Currently Cap Metro sells ad space on its buses and trains but not on bus shelters. That may soon change. I just talked to a Council aide who is looking into an ordinance change that will authorize the transit agency to advertise on shelters. The authorization from the city is necessary because the bus stops are in the city’s right-of-way.

I can’t think of a good reason to oppose advertising at bus stops. I hate billboards, but they don’t provide a public good. Bus stop advertising provides revenue for public transportation. In fact, it could be a way to help pay to build more bus stops!

I can already envision the amendments regulating the types of advertising, of course. Will the city run into first amendment issues if it bars Cap Metro from selling ad space to gun-makers, tobacco companies and all fast food chains except P. Terry’s?

It’s unclear how much demand there would be for that advertising if it becomes available. It would be interesting to see how it would be priced based on location. In fact, that reminds me, I have to look into pricing for the big wraps that we see on some buses now.

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