Coming soon to a bus shelter near you: advertising

By 19 January 2007 30

I don’t know if this just slipped under the radar, or if it was covered in other local media, but here’s a story I thought might be of interest.

Seems that the streets of Canberra will soon be featuring something they’ve never had before: commercial advertising, on bus shelters.

As this press release reports, Adshel has won a 15-year tender let by the ACT Government to provide bus shelters with advertising:

Under the contract the company will provide up to 314 bus shelters incorporating over 266 advertising panels across the ACT, a large proportion of these in the capital Canberra.

(Where would the other ones be?! Tharwa? Williamsdale?)

There’s no money involved: the deal is that Adshel installs and maintains the shelters, emtpies the bins etc, and earns the revenue from advertising.

Apparently the shelters will look something like this.
Evo bus shelter

Personally I’m all for it. There’s no reason the Government should be spending money doing this sort of thing when Adshel and companies like it have a business model that enables them to provide public facilities at no-cost to the public.

Of course, I’ll admit that there are bound to be many who are opposed to the introduction of panel advertising on Canberra’s streets. But the question is simply, would you prefer to have facilities that are not maintained, or for the Government to be spending tax dollars to maintain them, or to endure the minor inconvenience of advertising in order for a private company to undertake the installation and maintenance. To me it’s a no-brainer.

[ED - IMHO It beats dicky little coreflute banners all over the place (something even the ACT Government has resorted to using). One wonders if we couldn't have got a better deal]

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30 Responses to
Coming soon to a bus shelter near you: advertising
tortfeaser 10:40 am
19 Jan 07

Now there’s a public-private partnership that makes sense. I wonder if the sheds revert to the Govt if it goes bad, Cross City Tunnel style?

seepi 10:43 am
19 Jan 07

anything that brings actual rubbish bins back to the streets has got to be a good thing!

johnboy 10:44 am
19 Jan 07

I guess it was too much to expect the Prime Minister of Canberra to organise garbage collection.

poptop 10:46 am
19 Jan 07

I’m for it.

Only the other day I had wondered what all the ACT based BUGAUP (Billboard Utilising Graffitists Against Unhealthy Promotions)people were doing with their spare time. The ACT Government has solved the problem!

Less buses and more ads – Sweet.

swantonjohn 11:24 am
19 Jan 07

We had one of these outside our flat in London, used to score some great massive movie posters out of it on changeover day.

Sammy 11:29 am
19 Jan 07

As an analogy, I use Gmail because it is a rocking webmail package, and the adverts are worth putting up with for a great free service. Hopefully it’ll be the same with these new bus shelters.

jill 11:35 am
19 Jan 07

Great it means bus shelters like the one at Dirty Deakin will look modern and clean and someone will have an interest in keeping it spotless!

Thumper 11:39 am
19 Jan 07

Well, if the Socialist Republic of Canberra government can’t do it, someone has to…

johnboy 11:42 am
19 Jan 07

Looks like our expectations have been successfully lowered.

simto 11:55 am
19 Jan 07

Government has the responsibility to ensure that, for example, garbage collection is done.

That doesn’t mean they have to do it themselves – they can outsource it in a commercial arrangement such as the one mentioned. Saves government money, same result, can’t see the problem.

Now, if they don’t enforce the agreement, or alternatively the agreement is written so shoddily that standards slip, then yes, our expectations will have been lowered. But at the moment, that hasn’t happened.

So your grumpitude about this one can probably deferred for at least a month or two…

johnboy 12:00 pm
19 Jan 07

One can only hope that having been forced by necessity and incompetence to make this concession to advertising the Stanhope Government can now allow billboards in select locations.

That way our city’s flower beds can be spared the indignity of being used as second class billboards displaying cryptic and easily mis-interpreted messages like “Spastic Centre” on Vernon circle.

pierce 12:26 pm
19 Jan 07

Shiny new bus shelters are all well and good but why at the expense of the mental landscape.

One of the many things that Canberrans take for granted (or haven’t even noticed) is the absence of prominent outdoor advertising in this city.

Personally, I like the feeling that this city has a less corporate feel than most and that I can happily walk down the street, engrossed in my thoughts without some psychologically designed yelling at me for attention. Given the numerous other ways we are bombarded with information and messages in day to day life, this seems entirely civilised.

As for the Spastic Centre flowerbed, everytime I see it I think that one day I’d like to open a bar by that name. (Maybe for underage drinkers)

pierce 12:27 pm
19 Jan 07

That would be psychologically designed poster, damn it.

paperboy 12:40 pm
19 Jan 07

johnboy hit the nail on the head. The issue here is not so much about bus shelters, as about breaking an ACT-wide regulation against streetside advertising. There’s no money in a private company developing bus shelters without the big dollars from advertising. Northbourne Avenue be turned from a tree lined vista into a Piccadilly of advertising billboards on all of the shelters. Here’s a bet now, that the majority of ads will only be on the side facing the motorist. Great! Another distraction for the driver. And here’s one for the National Capital Authority. Will they appear at bus shelters within the Parliamentary triangle? I wonder how long before the Jennifer Hawkins ‘horny underwear ads’ line the streets. And whether that might see the NCA stepping in.

simto 12:42 pm
19 Jan 07

Could you back up your assertion that they were “forced into this by necessity and incompetence”? It seems to me that they chose this approach as fiscally sensible and organisationally useful. I fully admit, though, you might know more than me.

pierce 12:53 pm
19 Jan 07

I wouldn’t count on that simto :)

Sammy 12:55 pm
19 Jan 07

I wonder how long before the Jennifer Hawkins ‘horny underwear ads’ line the streets.

Which will presumably lead to young men flogging their logs in bus shelters, with increasing regularity.

Hasdrubahl 1:07 pm
19 Jan 07

It would be appalling if they milk the lizard in public. That would be more distracting to drivers than the billboards.

Deano 1:40 pm
19 Jan 07

Will they appear at bus shelters within the Parliamentary triangle?

The statementwill provide up to 314 bus shelters incorporating over 266 advertising panels would suggest not.

Deano 1:47 pm
19 Jan 07

One of the many things that Canberrans take for granted (or haven’t even noticed) is the absence of prominent outdoor advertising in this city.

For a glimpse into the ‘unregulated advertising’ future just take a trip out to the airport. The advertising bombardment starts the moment you drive in and doesn’t stop until you leave.

As an aside: I’ve always wondered who buys those big ships and planes they advertise in the terminal. And why would anyone in Canberra want a ship – its not like there is anywhere to sail it. Maybe they keep them in their backyards like my neighbour does with his yacht.

Smackbang 1:48 pm
19 Jan 07

“The mental landscape”?!!?


sheer 1:57 pm
19 Jan 07

Adshel shelters are the bomb. My current bus stop in Griffith reeks of trash, and is covered in grafitti and scorch marks (from the charming locals who persistently try to set it on fire). Adshel has a fleet of guys in white vans who spend their days cleaning and generally freshening up their shelters, so I hope they stop by mine first!

Deano 1:57 pm
19 Jan 07

One thing to be said for the old ‘pillbox’ bus shelters is that you could actually take shelter in them from the rain, wind or blazing sun. These new ones don’t seem to offer much in the way of shelter.

I spoke a while back with the architect who designed the bus shelters in the Civic Interchange. He stated that the shelters were deliberately designed to provide limited shelter and comfort so that they did not attract homeless people (or bus patrons for that matter).

cranky 7:08 pm
19 Jan 07

So if you cross Stanhope’s palm with silver, you get to advertise by the roadway to your hearts content.

Pity the small business owners, attempting to attract custom, who’s A-frames and corflute signs are confiscated by the sign police. Oh, you can pay to recover them from the impounding yard.

Consistency of policy is sadly lacking in this town.

Sammy 9:03 pm
19 Jan 07

Pity the small business owners … who’s A-frames and corflute signs are confiscated by the sign police.

A-frames serve no public benefit. Bus shelters do.

cranky 9:10 pm
19 Jan 07


Would you care to re-read my post?

I wrote about advertising, not bus shelters.

miz 11:48 pm
19 Jan 07

Perhaps ACTION could use the new space to inform people of the blinking timetable???? (My son keeps missing loop weekend buses because there is no info on which side of the road to wait – it alternates on the hour, and the buses don’t stop!).

novacain 1:47 am
20 Jan 07

as an ex canberran, all i can say is this is freakin typical. so what if there’s advertising on bustops? what does it really matter? would it mean there are more sheltered stops? and if not, how would the advertising detract from what i remember as an ACTION/ACT govt issue in actually being able to provide a decent bus shelter? does it really make a difference to have a shelter on par with Sydney or Melbourne? tho i guess you could all go back to the pebbletex bomb shelter….

Hasdrubahl 6:28 am
20 Jan 07

Well now we know why you are an ex-canberran. And may it remain so.

Delfichael 11:50 am
20 Jan 07

Just so long as the bus timetables read loud and clear on the other side of the panels, I’ll have no problems. Heck, you might have something new to look at and pass the time when there’s a long wait for a bus.

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