A passenger tweeted a photo of a set of stairs that shows the Rogers promotions at Lincoln Fields Station:
Lots of new Rogers ads at Lincoln Fields station today. Looks like a big boys fight. pic.twitter.com/2FgxOXJhiZ
— M. A. (@asselsm) November 5, 2013
Last year, large lobsters were placed on top of bus stop shelters to promote P.E.I tourism. The conventional ads are the posters placed inside and outside buses, and on bus stop shelters. A single ad can wrap the entire exterior of buses. We are used to this on our transit system and wouldn't think twice. Now for the very first time in Ottawa, transit station shelters, walls, and floors can be covered in ads promoting the same message. Station domination is a common advertisement practice in subway and LRT stations across this country, but is generally met with public disapproval.
Some passengers may be annoyed with them, especially the telecom ones, while others may not noticed or simply don't care. When ads start to creep into areas that have remained ad-free, they usually don't go away. Station domination could appear in future Confederation Line stations, which will be far more spacious than the current Transitway stations and consequently, provide more opportunities to advertisers.
However, advertising on transit property is not a significant source of revenue for OC Transpo. Advertising on transit shelters and vehicles generates approximately $3.3 million per year, a relatively small amount compared to the $218.6 million revenue that the the transit agency estimates it will generate in 2014. It's roughly 1.5%. As for revenue from station domination, in 2011, the City projected it would bring $50,000 in revenue during the first year (2011) of implementation. It's nowhere near enough to stop annual fare hikes unfortunately.
Whether you like it or not, station domination is probably here to stay. There is concern about multiple ads of similarity interfering with wayfinding signage and confusing the casual user or tourist. And of course, station domination can turn a beautiful rail station into a marketing jungle. The first set of ads haven't created a public outcry, but it doesn't mean they are accepted either. Like the bus wraps, station domination should be applied sparingly.