Monday, June 24, 2013

Low Flying Billboards

That's what one City Councilman considers MARTA bus stop shelters that are plastered with adverts. Low flying billboards. And he has a good point. In many cases, like the corner of major intersections, these billboards suit the best interests of the advertising company and its customers whilst doing quite a disservice to MARTA patrons (they're patrons, not customers, and no, we don't know why) and any drivers who need to move around a stopped bus.

Don't believe it? Then explain the bus stops on Chamblee Dunwoody, one in front of Hickory House, the other at Dunkin Donuts. Strictly from a "best benefit for all concerned" wouldn't the public be better served by only one with that one being the one at the Hickory House? Unless you factor in the billboard aspect at which point you understand it isn't about the public, MARTA patrons or service to anyone other than the advertising company.

The problem is simple, not unique and much like the City's own grant grubbing: misplaced priorities. Whereas the City will seek a grant then propose a project, MARTA is selling billboard real estate and that is the determining factor for bus stop location. One can only wonder if this determines route selection as well since our many, often empty buses appear to be little more than rolling billboards.

The solution is either not simple or as is widely believed involves the expenditure of money without any benefit to City staffers, their friends, family or vendors. Otherwise it would be a slam dunk. As it is we're bound by an Inter-Governmental Agreement until the year 2022 so we best get used to this silliness as well.