At the end of last year, the emails started trickling in. “There’s a new bench at my stop.” “They replaced the crappy plastic bench with something more durable. Yes, after months of witnessing the dismantleing of the old network of bus benches after the City Council voted to replace their old bench contractor Norman Bench with Martin Outdoor Media.
As before, the benches will be installed by Martin Outdoor Media who will take care of the upkeep of the benches. Instead of being paid by the city, Martin Outdoor Media makes their money off the advertisements on the benches themselves and pays the city for the right to put the benches down. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work.
Under Norman Bench, many of the most popular bus stops didn’t have benches because they were in lower income areas that attracted fewer advertising dollars.
“6,000 new benches will be installed, which include benches that are replacing the older, existing plastic benches and new benches at bus stops that currently do not have any bus patron amenities,” Paul Gomez, a spokesman with the Department of Public Works, writes. “All replacement and new benches, are to be installed over a 24 month period that started in Oct. 2011.”
When new Sharrows are painted, or new safety signs are put up, Streetsblog asks you to tell us when and where you see them. There’s no reason we can’t do the same for bus benches. If you see a new bench or shelter being put up, please let us know in the comments section. If you can get a good picture, email them to damien at streetsblog dot org.
Martin Outdoor Media’s contract with the city runs for ten years from October 2011 to October 2021.