Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Trams and Advertising

I have spent months considering this, and have come to a conclusion, which I back today, tomorrow and for ever. I like advertising on trams.
Which is to say, I do not have a problem with it. Since the decision was made to allow advertising on the new trams, letters appear regularly in the Advertiser deploring this crass commercialisation of the public transport system. The arguments include that it makes it difficult to see into the trams, that they are a tourist attraction, and that they mess up the streetscape.
I genuinely don't know which is the dumbest argument. Why do you need to see into the trams? What streetscape would that be: King William St with its tall grey squares, or Jetty Road with its (advertising-covered) buses? And for the love of all that is logical: trams are not a friggin' tourist attraction! They should be a basic part of every major city's public transport infrastructure- have been since they were invented. I can count on the fingers of one stump the number of people who have flown from Japan to Melbourne to marvel at this modern wonder, which, incidentally, are less comfortable and more covered in advertising than our own meagre offerings.
Further, that trams be exempt from interstate advertising, as Eldert Hoebee of Torrens Park would wish in today's Advertiser, is practically a trade embargo within a nation! A ridiculous idea, as anyone studying economics would be able to tell you.

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