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Regional District of Nanaimo reviews advertising on new buses

The Regional District of Nanaimo is in the process of reviewing whether advertising should be on its compressed natural gas buses.

The 25 new buses currently don’t have any advertising. Dennis Trudeau, regional district general manager of transportation, said there is a cost of administering an advertising contract between Lamar Canada Ltd. and regional district funding partner B.C. Transit. There are also maintenance costs due to damage done when exterior ads are removed, he said.

A cost benefit analysis review will examine the value of the ads.

“What I see at this point, and it’s still early, but I see three possible options,” Trudeau said. “We could do our analysis and say, ‘Yes, there’s value,’ and allow advertising on all our buses, that’s one option.

“Another option would be to completely ban advertising because we don’t see the value in it. A third option could be somewhere in between the two ... we don’t want the whole bus being advertised, we want certain segments, so we retain the look of the bus. That might be another option.”

Trudeau said older buses, which account for about half the fleet, are still displaying advertising. He said discussions with B.C. Transit confirmed that the regional district is within its rights to alter advertising on any buses.

Byron Montgomery, Lamar Canada regional manager, insists the agreement has been breached, however.

“I can’t speak to the RDN, I can only speak to our agreement with B.C. Transit ... the agreement states that we have the right to place advertising on the buses in Nanaimo,” Montgomery said. “We have paid a licence agreement to do so and if inventory is taken away from us, then that licence agreement and the payments we make to B.C. Transit have to be adjusted.”

Montgomery added the company is in discussions with B.C. Transit and regional district staff and is optimistic that a solution can be reached.

Trudeau estimates that the review will be completed by a May 22 transit select committee meeting.

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