Transportation officials trying to sort out issues over CCT bus ads
by Geoff Folsom
February 18, 2013 02:01 AM | 4403 views | 9 9 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
McDonald's ads cover the sides of a Cobb Community Transit bus. The ads on two buses go against an advertising program plan that the Board of Commissioners approved in August that forbids CCT from covering more than 25 percent of a bus’s windows with ads.<br>Staff/Todd Hull
McDonald's ads cover the sides of a Cobb Community Transit bus. The ads on two buses go against an advertising program plan that the Board of Commissioners approved in August that forbids CCT from covering more than 25 percent of a bus’s windows with ads.
Staff/Todd Hull
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They say it’s not the crime, it’s the cover up. But for the Cobb Department of Transportation, a violation of county policy might have stemmed from covering up windows.

CDOT admits that it didn’t follow one of its new bus advertising rules when two Cobb Community Transit buses recently started making their routes decked out in bright red “wrap” advertisements for McDonald’s. The ads completely cover the sides of the buses, including their windows.

That goes against an advertising program plan that the Board of Commissioners approved by a 5-0 vote in August 2012. The plan forbids CCT from covering more than 25 percent of a bus’s windows with ads.

Cobb Department of Transportation director Faye DiMassimo said that while the program plan puts a limit on window advertising, there was no such provision in the contract the county signed with Orlando-based Signal Outdoor Advertising. The agreement allowed Signal to sell bus ads, in exchange for splitting revenue with the county.

“We agree there is a conflict between the agreement and the Advertising Plan,” DiMassimo said in an email.

DiMassimo said her department would discuss how to address the conflict with commissioners and County Manager David Hankerson.

“For the time being we are going to allow the buses to remain in service and generating advertising revenue,” she said.

Other cities, including New York, have limited the amount of advertising allowed on bus windows partly because wraps can make it difficult for police officers to see inside a bus.

Cobb Police spokesman Sgt. Dana Pierce said that, while he wasn’t familiar with the county’s bus advertising situation, police recommend that businesses avoid placing advertisements in their windows that can block officers’ views inside.

“In keeping that window free and clear of posters and advertisements, it does allow us to see inside from a crime prevention standpoint,” Pierce said.

Struggles have been known to take place on CCT buses.

In February 2012, a passenger was arrested after police said she stabbed a CCT driver, Damian Haney, with a pen on a bus in a struggle with the driver in which the woman dropped a knife. The passenger, Taniesha Twyne, remains without bond in the Cobb County Adult Detention Center facing felony charges including aggravated assault and unlawful attempt to remove a firearm.

Southeast Cobb Commissioner Bob Ott said installing the wrap ads was likely an honest mistake.

“My understanding is they are working on correcting the situation,” he said.

CCT has smaller ads, which don’t cover the windows, on 40 of its buses, DiMassimo said. The departments contract with Signal states that the county will get either $60,000 for the first year of the deal, which runs through August 30, 2015, or 55 percent of total revenue received, whichever is higher. The guaranteed amount increases annually.

DiMassimo said CCT doesn’t yet have figures available for how much it has made from advertising revenue, which is dependent on market conditions.

“We will continue to evaluate and believe the program is going well,” she said.

Cobb’s bus advertising program was approved after a June 2011 recommendation by a 10-member Citizen Oversight Committee. The committee was appointed by commissioners earlier that year to find inefficiencies and cut costs. The recommendation came around the time the largely taxpayer subsidized CCT cut three lesser-used routes in a move intended to save the county around $2.4 million annually.

Other stipulations in the advertising program plan approved by commissioners included requiring county approval for all advertising content and forbidding advertisements for feminine hygiene products, contraceptives or sexually explicit material.
Comments
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Curious...
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February 19, 2013
Not only does this wrap violate the 25% window rule, it also violates the logo policy that CCT put out in their RFP:

"The Contractor shall have the right to place advertising on all four exterior sides of CCT buses. Advertising on paratransit buses shall be limited to the front, driver’s side and rear of the van. No advertising is permitted on the curb side of the paratransit buses. Exterior advertising on buses may cover no more than 25% of the window areas. Advertising on bus fronts and rears shall not block grill work or windows. Advertising on the rear of buses shall not visibly detract from any safety signage or lights. Advertising shall not cover CCT logo, bus number or wheelchair symbol decal. All advertising materials applied to the exterior of CCT buses shall be pressure sensitive,

removable, self adhesive vinyl signage that is guaranteed or certified not to damage paint during its installation or removal. Contractor shall be responsible for installation and removal of signage as well as repair of any surface damages caused by the installation or removal of signage."

Given this clearly stated policy, the wraps are in violation. Also, with the CCT logo being plastered all over the buses, this would prohibit advertising on the fronts completely as well as some of the sides because those signs would cover the CCT logos on the sides.
Transit Advocate
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February 18, 2013
The ads have nothing to do with that. CCT actually runs one of the most used transit lines in the southeast (Route # 10) and the express buses into Atlanta are always full. Every bus on every route isn't going to be full to the max so get over it. Why don't you tell all the people in their cars that can hold 5 people and SUVs that hold 7 people to stop driving with just 1 person in them. It causes "so the taxpayers that subsidize the" cost of building wide unnecessary roads to be upset!
Watcher...
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February 18, 2013
Raise fares to cover the true costs of CCT.

I am tired of subsiding transit operations.
Devlin Adams
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February 18, 2013
Thank you Faye DiMassimo. Maybe one or two people will nop recognize you becuase you cleverly used an alias.

You got caught with you bloomers down, so admit it and let's move on. Stop trying to defend the indefensible.
Watcher...
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February 18, 2013
I just love "Transit Advocate" lecturing Cobb Taxpayers/Citizens about their choice of personal transportation.
Watcher...
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February 18, 2013
Isn't it just like government Bureaucrats, they write their own policies, then they do not follow them!

Let a Cobb Taxpayer/Citizen try that and all hell would break loose.
Watcher...
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February 18, 2013
"dustoff" is exactly correct! Many CCT trips are not near capacity.
dustoff
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February 18, 2013
They want to cover the windows so the taxpayers that subsidize the cost of running the system cannot see the empty seats.

CCT is a money loser and has been from day one, but they keep dumping more money into it.

Let a privatize it and get out od the so called transportation system.
Bob Bummer
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February 18, 2013
Most transit systems loose money and are subsidized b taxpayers. I say shut the transit systems down and let the cheapskates buy themselves an automobile like the rest of us. Why should I pay for a bus system that I never use so that a few employers can pay their employees substandard wages that cannnot even support buying an automobile to get to the job.
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