Caldwell makes pitch for ads on city buses

Published On: Jan 16 2014 06:53:45 PM HST   Updated On: Jan 17 2014 08:45:33 AM HST

City buses could have a new look soon.  That's if a proposal is passed allowing ads on the exterior of TheBus.

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The city buses could have one ad on each side and on on the back.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell proposes allowing advertising on the outside of more than 500 city buses.

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"Everybody needs revenue, but let's grab it from someplace else instead of destroying something every day which is the bus," said TheBus rider Charles Linkee.  "The bus is what people look at.  We don't want to look at the advertisement."

But, Caldwell says it could generate up to $8 million annually.  The funds would go directly into TheBus operations.  Ads would have limited sizes.  The biggest ad would cost advertisers $450 per month, per bus.

"As that money comes in, we are going to be looking to restore bus routes or enhance bus routes on areas that we have gotten a lot of requests," said Caldwell.

That includes introducing a new service between Central Oahu and Kapolei which would cost the city $2.9 million and other route enhancements totaling more than $5.6 million.

"We have a lot of people that are working in Central Oahu that are coming to my district, who have families in my district, who frequent my district a lot, so this is going to provide a huge opportunity to go to Pearlridge, Central Oahu and back to my district," said Councilwoman Kymberly Pine.

The mayor says the content of the ads will be restricted.  You won't see them on bus benches or transit stations.  But, even with the limits, some say keep the bus as is with no ads.

"It looks cheesy to me," said TheBus rider David Ingrahan.

But, it could be as early as the end of the year for the white board mock-ups to become a real ad.

The bill is set to be heard by the City Council committee Friday at 9 a.m.


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