Wednesday, February 08, 2006

140 on a tram

I don't think it is a bad advertsing campaign by Melbourne's tram operator. There is a picture of a very sleek tram with a caption 140 commuters and a picture of many cars in a traffic jam and a caption of 140 commuters.

To non Melbournians it must be impressive and perhaps they wonder why all these people would sit in a traffic jam when there is a nice modern tram to catch.

While I am a strong supporter of public transport, the ad is somewhat less than true for a few reasons.

1/ Much of the time a tram is right in the thick of the traffic jam. Sometimes they even cause them. 140 motorists are not going anywhere fast and neither are the 140 tram passengers.

2/ You may get one of these very smart trams, but you may also get a thirty year old one in which you will bake on a hot day and freeze in the winter or you may get a sixty year old tram that is limited to a certain speed for safety reasons. That is confidence building.

3/ There is one variety of tram that may take 140 comfortably, but there are only twenty one of them.The one in the picture is not one of them. How does it feel to be in a tram with 140 people? Very unpleasant I can assure you. Yet I just hear on the radio a commentator saying 140 to 160 passengers should not be delayed by one motorist in a car. Of course cars should not delay public transport, but 160 people? How often?

I suppose it is too much to expect truth in advertising. Still, it is not a bad ad.

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Before you change something, find out why it is the way it is in the first place - unknown.