I often disagree with Jim Graham, and he added fuel to my fire not long ago. Last week, he was invited to a live chat on Greater Greater Washington. I give him credit for community outreach and for giving respect to the blogging community. But here is the issue:
[Comment From Geoff Hatchard]
serious question—advertising on buses is dramatically underutilized. i see ads in the overhead spaces on buses that are 15 months old, advertising events that have long-since ended. is there a way you can have a heart-to-heart with the ad sales people at WMATA and tell them to step it up with regards to buses. i'm sure advertisers would love to have all those eyeballs...
Jim Graham: I am surprized to hear that. I will ask the GM about that whne we are done here. You can email me for follow up at email@example.com
The problem here is that Jim Graham, who chairs the WMATA Board of Directors, hasn't noticed out-of-date advertising on Metro and Metrobus. I had occasion to ride the 50 buses on 14th Street about four times last week. Every one of them had out-of-date advertising. I also saw a charity ad on a Metro car last week for winter holiday fundraising. And for how long have U Street/Cardozo passengers stared at the Marshall's grand opening ad — the one that had the eyes scratched out almost immediately — at the 13th Street exit? Out-of-date advertising is not the crime of the century, to be sure. It's just that you don't have to try to find examples, but you do need to actually use Metro. Which, brings me to another good comment from the chat:
Michael Perkins: Recently in the Washington post it was reported that not many Metro Board members and management ride the system. Do you think it's important for board members and members of WMATA management to regularly ride transit?I take this comment to mean that Graham finds Metro and Metrobus currently unattractive and, therefore, doesn't use it much. Sigh.
Jim Graham: Yes I think so. ALthough--for example-- I have no kids in DC schools, but I particpate in school decsions. There are countless more examples. All the same, there is both a susbtantive and symbolic purpose in riding. Lilke many others, I will be attracted away from the auto by attractive transit service...Like the upcoming bus imporvemtns impacting Ward 1.