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Ads rejected on new bus fleet

The Regional District of Nanaimo has voted against exterior bus advertising on its new compressed natural gas buses, much to the chagrin of a transit ad company.

At the May board meeting, a majority of regional district directors present voted in favour of a motion advising funding partner B.C. Transit that the ads will not be allowed on the new buses. Nanaimo directors Bill Bestwick and Jim Kipp were the only dissenting voices.

Byron Montgomery, regional manager for Lamar Advertising Canada, the ad company, said the business is damaged, advertisers are spending money elsewhere and the company is currently negotiating with B.C. Transit on reduced payments.

“We’re not paying for those buses so there is a mechanism in our contract that we reduce our monthly licence cost,” said Montgomery.

Dennis Trudeau, general manager of transportation, said exterior ads will still be allowed on the regional district’s 21 diesel-powered buses but there wasn’t value in the deal.

“The value we were getting for the advertising didn’t offset the cost of doing the administration and the repairing of the damage [from ad removal],” said Trudeau. “We were receiving approximately $4,000 a bus and to completely repair any damage on a bus to do a full re-paint, costs about $4,000. So if we were to do that on an annual basis, we would be getting zero dollars.”

Montgomery said the advertisements do not cause damage, pointing to a report that was made to the regional district board in April.

“Our report is accurate and it’s supported by industry leaders,” he said. “The damage on the buses were not from the vinyl, categorically. There was damage from the buses from the paint from before and that is a great piece of fiction that was produced.”

There are no ads in the interior of the compressed natural gas buses and Trudeau said there is no prohibition on that. With the contract expiring next year, Trudeau said the deal will be revisited at that time.

“For the Regional District of Nanaimo, we fully support our local partners, and if this is the decision, they’re making, we support them,” said Meribeth Burton, corporate spokeswoman for B.C. Transit.

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