Feb 27, 2014

Please! No Advertising ON The Bus

Don’t Advertise on Me!!!

According to Wikipedia, the name TheBus and the familiar yellow, black and white paint scheme was introduced in 1974 to give our city buses a less stodgy image.  HRT became MTL when the city took over the bus operations.  At the time  Honolulu itself was run by former Hartford, Connecticut citizen Mayor Frank F. Fasi.  Fasi was Mayor of Honolulu City and County for most of the last century, or at least it seemed that way.  It was he who renamed the bus TheBus and gave it its new trade dress in 1974.    That sleek, comparatively sophisticated trade dress has lasted 40 years … which from a branding perspective is pretty darn good.  Even Hawaiian Air’s famed Pualani logo, designed by Landor and Associates in 1975 has changed since then.

TheBus is the 20th most utilized transit system in the nation with more than 70 million passengers carried in any given year.  It is also the only transit system to be recognized twice as America’s Best Transit System — the most recent time being in 2000-2001.  Expanding TheBus system and routes, in my opinion, could have been part of a cheaper (and more workable) solution to Honolulu’s traffic problems.  We didn’t need rail, we don’t need rail and even the rail proponents acknowledge that it won’t solve the traffic problem.  But alas, that is for other blogs (which I have already written).

Prior to the city takeover of HRT in 1971, outdoor advertising was allowed on the exterior of the buses.  That changed with Fasi’s acquisition (yay Frank!) and although no law has been passed specifically banning exterior advertising, a tradition has (surely!) been established — a tradition of more than 40 years — for no advertising on the outside of buses.  The Outdoor Circle, fanatic protectors of Hawai`i’s beauty (at least insofar as it is in their control)vehemently opposes advertising on the outside of the buses but since they are moving vehicles, it could be permitted.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell, looking for ways to raise money, proposed advertising on the outside of TheBus in 2013, and it has raised its ugly head again just this week before the City Council.  WE CAN’T LET THIS HAPPEN.

Many cities have advertising on the outside of their buses.  But they are not big visitor destinations.  They are not paradise.  They have billboards so what difference do moving billboards make?

That’s for other cities, not for Honolulu.  What is Mayor Caldwell thinking?  Frank Fasi would have never let this happen.

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Gloria. Circa 1955.

Gloria. Circa 2012.

Other than working for the American Red Cross in Korea for two years, Gloria Garvey has lived in Hawai`i since 1971. Her opinion and other writing has appeared in: The American Philatelist. Honolulu Weekly, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, The Star Advertiser, Hawai`i Reporter, Pacific Business News, Island Scene, The Design Management Journal.

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