Recently, a netizen made an interesting post on Facebook regarding advertisements at bus stops. A Facebook user named Wei Lim commented on the inefficient advertising placements at bus stops which would force commuters to “step onto the road in front of oncoming buses to look for bus numbers”.

She also gives her own commentary in Chinese, which roughly translates to:

“The advertisement boards are ridiculously big and in-the-way, as if one would miss it! They block the sign that shows all the bus numbers. To the people in charge of the advertisements: Do you want the people in Chinatown to get knocked down and have your advertisement become infamous? Since when was this a viable tactic to attract attention for advertisements? Please be empathetic and stand in the commuter’s shoes, and make improvements to this system.”

The post is ended off with the hashtags #busstop as well as (in Chinese), “as long as companies can earn money, they remain stubborn about their methods” and “as long as companies can earn money, they don’t care about the design consequences”.

Facebook users who saw the post also added to the discussion. For example, some of them agreed that “need and function” was not considered in the design of such an advertisement board. Another user summed it up as “commercialism over human safety”.

However, another user did offer another perspective which is that the electronic boards listing bus timings at most bus stops can be an alternative way for commuters to check which buses pass that bus stop. Yet this may not be a direct answer to the solution as although commuters may be able to check which bus they can take in another way, the original signboard meant for that purpose is still covered by the ad boards. Furthermore, his may be an issue not just to commuters at the stop but to those onboard buses. Some people who are taking an unfamiliar route may be looking out for the bus stop sign and the bus stop code printed at the top of the sign to determine where to get off and the big advertisement board prevents them from doing so.

A marketing website’s article gives us some food for thought towards the issue by reporting that since 2017, the LTA has launched a public tender that allows “only tenderers with relevant experience in outdoor advertisement” to be considered for the contract. This may seem a little contradictory to the suspicions by netizens that the bus stop advertisement management have little experience in this area (which led to such a design error!).

What do you think about this? Let us know in the comments below!