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MTA Should Forgo Wraparound Bus Ads

September 12, 1993

* Valley residents should be aware that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is planning on painting the outside of 100 roving buses with enormous wraparound visual advertisements.

These buses will roll down city streets hawking everything from "RoboCop3" to jeans and beverages. The project, which MTA hopes will raise about $570,000 in advertising revenue, will in effect convert transit vehicles into advertising junkies.

Homeowners of Encino and many other organizations have voiced vehement opposition to this concept. These groups do not accept MTA's rationale that there is economic justification for this type of moving graffiti.

I believe that the public does not want this type of visual pollution in their midst. One MTA representative told me that we should realize we are in a changing society and it is incumbent upon us to accept this new form of advertising. She said some people see these rolling billboards as exciting and a positive attraction for Los Angeles. I could not disagree more strongly with this view.

The residents of the Valley should demand that the MTA not bring this program to our streets. The result may well be a strong negative reaction to the MTA, actually discouraging bus riders, while encouraging graffiti. Some individuals may even boycott products advertised through this media.

If the program does prove financially successful, where will the MTA draw the line? Does the MTA anticipate selling space on the outside of Metrorail cars, on the Red Line subway, and the outside of Blue line cars? Will the company vehicles of MTA employees and its director, Franklin White, carry similar wall-to-wall advertising?

The concept is garish, unacceptable, and an unwise use of public facilities. The MTA should find more cost-effective ways of raising revenue than selling every inch of public space owned by them that is exposed to public view.



Silver is president of Homeowners of Encino.

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