Bus riders get the advantage

Twin Cities buses will be scaling back their advertisements.

Public transportation has long been considered a suitable accomplice to metropolitan advertising campaigns. Why not advertise on behemoth vehicles that serve thousands and move through highly populated regions?

For systems that are often scrapping for cash, selling out is often the norm. In recent years, Metro Transit started adopting ads that covered the entirety of its vehicles. Now, after a series of complaints, Metro Transit is scaling back and unwrapping its buses and trains, at least partially.

The fully covered transit vehicles were certainly effective advertisements. Last summer, it was hard to ignore the light rail cars that were covered in neon colors promoting the iPod. While certainly distinctive and sometimes artsy, the ads were less than welcome.

The obstructed view caused by the often flashy advertisements was concerning riders who couldn’t see their stop through bus windows. Additionally, transit police were unable to see into transit vehicles and felt it was hindering their job.

While the announcement from Metro Transit is welcome, it won’t eliminate the often irritating advertisements. They will still be permitted to cover half of each window.

Metro Transit is currently riding a positive wave of publicity and interest, and this latest move will only benefit all. Ridership on public transportation hit a 23-year monthly high with 7 million riders last August. In addition, the proposed Central Corridor light rail line is gathering momentum as important local discussions are taking place.

An Oscar win for “An Inconvenient Truth” brings even more notice to the “green” movement. As more people desire to reduce their carbon footprint, public transportation could reap the benefits.

Removing the ads will not only reduce their tacky effect on the buses, but it will make riders feel safer and increase the appeal of our cities’ public transportation. This is certainly a step in the right direction as Metro Transit expands and moves forward.