Miami: “Stay dry or stay online? At bus stops, it’s free Wi-Fi versus shelters.”

Miami: “Stay dry or stay online? At bus stops, it’s free Wi-Fi versus shelters.”

Photo: C.M. Guerrero

“A cutting-edge network of interactive digital kiosks for Miami-Dade’s transit system may cost passengers an old-fashioned perk: shelter from the rain and the sun.

Outfront Media, the company that builds county bus shelters in exchange for selling ad space on the structures, recently warned it may have to abandon the venture if a rival company installs as many as 300 Wi-Fi-enabled kiosks at bus stops across the county. The kiosk company, Civiq, won a deal in January to spend about $20 million bringing the technology to Miami-Dade at no charge, partly in exchange for selling ads on the nearly 10-foot-tall pylons.

‘We understand that the objectives of the digital kiosk program are fantastic — to provide free Wi-Fi to transit riders,’ Outfront lobbyist Michael Llorente told county commissioners at a recent hearing. ‘But I can assure you that if that program is funded by essentially cannibalizing some of our top-producing bus shelters, a lot of those riders are going to be surfing the Internet under the sun and the rain. Because the money is simply not going to be there for the bus shelters.’

County vendors often warn of financial ruin if the government allows competition, and Outfront has millions invested in its near-monopoly on advertising throughout South Florida’s public-transportation system. It already wraps national brands around Miami-Dade Metromover cars, county buses and on placards at all Metrorail stations under an exclusive contract approved in 2015…”

–Douglas Hanks, Miami Herald

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St. Petersburg: City Council members say NO to bus shelter advertising

St. Petersburg: City Council members say NO to bus shelter advertising

Video: City of St. Petersburg

“The spread of commercial culture into some of our most valued public spaces – from our public roadways to educational institutions and health care facilities is putting ‘in your face’ advertising in places that – unlike your television or radio – you can’t turn off.

Should we permit corporations to turn our every waking moment into one long advertisement? Scenic St. Petersburg thinks not.

In early 2017 a company approached the City for permission to install 23 new “advertising shelters” (this is PSTA’s term for these structures). This company has already installed sixty advertising shelters in other parts of the county. Currently, such roadside advertising is illegal in St. Petersburg.

In order to fund these shelters the city had proposed entering into an agreement which would allow advertising on bus shelters in the public right-of-way. Thanks to the feedback received from neighborhoods and individuals the city’s Public Safety and Infrastructure Committee decided on October 26th NOT to refer the proposal to the Legal department for development of an agreement, but instead directed the city’s Administration to find a way to fund not 23, but 36 or more bus shelters without advertising!

As importantly, these shelters will be located where the bus rider’s need is greatest, not just where the advertising space can be sold.

Kudo’s to Council member Darden Rice for finding a ‘win-win’ way to meet the needs of our community without spoiling the landscape that makes St. Petersburg so special. We also appreciate the comments of the candidates for Mayor of the City of St. Petersburg regarding selling advertising in public spaces.

In case you are wondering what these shelters would have been like, here’s some examples. Note the poor maintenance; apparently the PSTA’s existing contract with Signal Outdoor is not being enforced.”

— Scenic St. Petersburg

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