A Progressive Alamedan

Various writings from a resident of Alameda regarding the political scene. The local perspective of local, state and national politics and a few other odds and ends of local concern. May not be particularly interesting to people outside of the Alameda area.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Campaign to keep TVs off of BART

Commercial Alert is an organization I've been supporting for quite a while now.

They have a new campaign against the proposal to put televisions on BART platforms and the trains!

Can't we have a respite from advertisements and TV screens? It seems like every new restaurant in Alameda has them. (Try to find a restaurant that has opened in the last year without TV screens) and now we must endure this on BART as well?

Help me spread the word about this campaign and send a message to BART's board of directors. (Please personalize the default message they provide...)

Click on this link and fill it out....



Blogger Linton Johnson, BART Chief Spokesperson said...

I think it’s time we at BART clear up a lot of the misconceptions about that TVs we hope to install on trains and in stations.

First, the original reason behind installing video monitors is to do what our customers have demanded us to do – communicate better with them.

In this age of instant communication, BART riders expect us to give them information that’s critical to their commute as quickly as possible. What our riders say they want to know is whether their train is on time, which station their train is about to pull into, where the transfer points are and most importantly, if there’s a systemwide disruption, what the cause of the problem is and how long they will be delayed.

For example: Don’t you just hate it when you’re on the ticketing level and you hear a train pulling into the station, but you’re just not quite sure if it’s yours? Just look up! No need for audio - these video screens that we’re hoping to put in the stations will display information letting you know what train is arriving. That way you can decide to sprint up the escalator to your train or just take your time. Or if you’re on the train, and you missed the Train Operator’s announcement because you’ve dozed off after a long, hard day’s work, the video screens on the train will show information about what station is next, and whether you’re on-time. Also, if we are repaving a parking lot say at Lafayette Station we can let you know on the video screens where we’re going to have temporary parking.

Currently, we try to deliver much of this information via overhead announcements and digital sign displays. But we can’t always communicate effectively through these means.

Many other transit agencies around the world use video screens to supplement their communications efforts, much to the delight and appreciation of their customers.

Another point that needs clarification is that many people seem to think these TVs will blare audio for all to hear. This will definitely not be the case. The contract we’re putting out requires that the vendor install TV sets that allow you the rider to choose whether you want to listen to the programming by making the audio available through headsets. It will be much like watching TV at the gym, where you have to use your headsets and tune into a certain frequency on your portable radio to listen to the programming.

Of course, while these our riders are demanding better communication from BART, they also don’t want to pay extra for that information. We at BART don’t want to charge them either, but the reality is installing video screens is an expensive proposition.

That’s why we are looking for a vendor who will pay for both the installation and the maintenance of the video screens.

Under the contract we are proposing, the vendor who wins the right to install the screens will have to allow BART to put this constantly scrolling information on the video monitors. We’re also requiring that the vendor devote at least 40 minutes of each hour to other informational programming, such as general news, BART news, sports, weather and entertainment. The remaining 20 minutes can be advertising, which the vendor can use to pay for the video monitors so BART riders and taxpayers don’t have to.

Additionally, the advertising that will go between the news, sports, weather and entertainment programming, will generate between $2 million and $7 million each year for BART – money we plan to use to make your experience on BART faster, cleaner, and better all around.

5:44 PM  

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