Sunday, February 15, 2009

BUS STORY # 120 (Shorts 9)

Oh, boy! ABQ RIDE has found a new advertising surface! I may sound amused, but the news is full of stories about struggling public transportation systems despite record high ridership. So I’m happy that ABQ RIDE is happy that Fuddruckers is happy to put its brand on the bottom of the bicycle racks. Who knows? Maybe next time, Fuddruckers will supersize to a full wrap.


It’s a cold, breezy morning at the Yale stop. I watch a guy come out of McDonald’s and shuffle across the street. He’s wearing some kind of balaclava against the wind. As he gets closer, I can see it is an outlandish knitted skull face in orange and brown and white, with a row of white teeth – a calaveras caricature, more like a Mexican wrestler’s mask. It’s pulled over a brown watchcap. An untucked white shirt hem sticks out from the bottom of his light jacket. As he gets closer, I can hear him humming. He comes straight toward me, and I can hear the humming is actually a shivery moaning. He steps up on the curb and stands to my immediate left, looking at me and moaning. His arms are crossed and his hands are tucked into the armpits of his jacket. I can see his eyes through the eyeholes. He’s young. Maybe high school young. It occurs to me he’s spoofing. I make a quizzical face at him. He moans a minute or so longer, then shuffles on toward Central. Maybe he’s not spoofing. He disappears around the corner without looking back.


I’ve already noticed the time scrolling across the front of the bus is exactly one hour ahead. So I’m thinking “yeah, yeah, yeah” when I hear the guy behind me say to his seatmate, “Dude, the clock is an hour ahead.” To which his seatmate replies, “Dude, that’s nothing. We’re like 20 years behind.” A bunch of us look up, but the date and time have scrolled out of sight. We have to wait for “Lomas and Eubank,” the next intersection, to scroll past before the date and time appear once again. Sure enough, it’s 6:08 p.m. on April 28, 1989 on this particular December 12, 2008, at 5:08 p.m. Amazing how we all picked up on the time and completely missed the date. Even more amazing: Not one person makes a joke about how late the bus is.


A few days later, I caught this date on the outbound No. 50:


Thanks to BB in Marshfield, MA, for This Week's Feature story: Two Months Ago In Boston.


Blogger abqdave said...

I think the new add surface on the bike racks is too 'in the face'. It might be smarter for ABQRide to advertise itself on these surfaces to increase ridership. Regardless, thinking about how inappropriate it is to have Fuddruckers on a bike rack vs. the hilarious example of 'the conductor is as ugly as a halibut' on Boston's T... If a company is going to do bus advertising, they should keep in mind the fact of the ad being on a bus may impact how people perceive their product. They should tailor their ads, like Legal did.

8:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anybody know how much of the cost of the city bus service is paid for by advertising?

7:45 PM  
Blogger Busboy said...

I've wondered the same thing myself, Anonymous. I emailed Greg Payne a couple of weeks ago with pretty much the same question. No answer yet. I also tacked the question on to another issue in an email to "Tony" (, so maybe an answer will be forthcoming.

Back in September, 2007, I posted a bus story which reported this detail: “According to the ABQ RIDE website, when the current director, Greg Payne, took over at the end of 2005, ABQ RIDE ‘was projected to be 6% over budget.’ Payne “brought busboard advertising in-house . . . and continues to generate at least $30,000 per month in revenue. This is a 50% increase compared to past years when working with an outside contractor.” That was before bus wraps, I believe.

It would be interesting to know the current percentage of the budget advertising provides. Thanks for posting.

6:06 AM  

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