Art attracts. Even advertisements, if done well, can add to the charm of any city. They can be placed strategically on the city transport as well… buses, taxis, trams, trains, city rail, intercity, monorail, rickshaws, and any other that may be there.
‘The buses here carry ads but in restricted areas,’ I asked a bus driver who had some time with him.
‘Yes,’ he replied, ‘though the hop-on-hop-off buses are painted all over. The other buses do have specified parts where the artwork can be displayed.’
During my stay in Sydney I did photograph a lot of buses and bus-stops and found that they had ads from a lot of sources and included technology, movies, television, travel, exploring, telecom, stores, insurance, loan, cosmetics, clothing, food, ice-cream, city, and even instructions for the commuter. The ads were vibrant and catchy… and were never ill-conceived or badly produced. They were certainly adding to the charm of this lovely city in NSW, Australia.
‘Do buses stop anywhere? I mean, even where there is no bus stop?’
‘No. In fact, there are times when the bus wouldn’t stop at all unless the people waiting there indicate that they want it to stop.’
I must’ve given a rather quizzed look, for this person who I was talking to while waiting for a bus, continued, ‘Buses here run on time and you can actually rely on the schedule that is there at all bus stops.’
This was indeed the truth. The schedule gave me not just the timings but also the bus routes and I was able to decide all by myself that I would get almost all the buses with a 4 and 2 in the beginning to reach Surry Hills from this stop near the Sydney Central. It was actually easy to understand and make use of road transport in this big bustling city.
I also remembered then that the driver of the cab that I took for the hotel from the airport was not wearing a seat belt. Interestingly, he told me that the cab drivers in Sydney were exempt from wearing seat belts during their work hours… that is, if they were on a personal trip, they would need to wear a belt. This exemption was not valid for any other driver of any other vehicle.
‘Why exempt just cab drivers?’ I asked.
‘Even I don’t know. But I can hazard a guess… could be because we have to get down to help our passengers so often and a belt would make us do our work just that bit slower.’
So obviously there are people who think and care for the working classes out there in Sydney. They don’t come out with regulations just because regulation-making is to be done… they do it because it would benefit everyone.
But let us come back to the subject of buses and the lovely ads on them. They are surely not an eye-sore and the pictures that I have taken will reinforce what I have said about them. And even Marshall McLuhan has remarked: ‘Historians and archaeologists will one day discover that the ads of our time are the richest and most faithful reflections that any society ever made of its entire range of activities.’
Enjoy the pictures…
This blog post has been contributed by Arvind Passey on his travel to Australia. Read more about Arvind at http://passey.info/