QUENTINSBURGH, FREEDEMIA: Freedemia’s biggest transit system and their biggest car manufacturer are at odds today, as the Quentinsburgh Urban Area Rapid Transit Authority (QUARTA) bans all advertisements for car sales in stations, at stops, and on the sides of buses and trains. Starmobile-Jazzalini had been attempting to purchase New Years’ ads across the system when QUARTA announced the decision.
Advertisements aren’t nonexistant in the QUARTA system by any means. While an effort is made to limit the trainside/busside ads to certain spots, non-intrusive ads can be found all throughout the system, especially inside trains and buses and at stops and stations. Recent improvements to QLine trains have even made it possible to have ads that change as the train ride continues, acting similarly to a billboard, announcing different businesses as the train gets closer to certain stops.
QUARTA’s decision comes around the same time that QUARTA and the cities in the Quentinsburgh metropolitan area changed their signage ordinances to direct retail signage to pedestrians and transit riders. As the area has attempted to move away from car reliance, QUARTA and the cities have attempted to shift the paradigm of residents to transit, walking, and biking as the defaults and driving as secondary.
The decision to ban advertisements for car sales was an attempt to move further towards that goal, according to QUARTA CEO Kellen Hyrper. “Car advertisements try to present auto driving as the “Freedemian Dream”, a luxury, a convenience, something to aim for. There’s nothing wrong with having a car to use in moderation, but it shouldn’t be viewed as the goal to get away from using transit. And it would be counterproductive to promote this in our transit system.”
Starmobile has split stakes here, and different divisions seem to have different responses. Starmobility, the bus/train/industrial truck manufacturing division of Starmobile, actually makes a large majority of QUARTA’s buses, and they’ve been partners for many years, with QUARTA being their largest client. Starmobility is very much against making this a big deal as they and QUARTA benefit mutually from their partnership. On the other hand, Starmobile-Jazzalini’s primary car sales divisions have sometimes relied on the advertising and the mentality of “Cars are cool!”, even in a country like Freedemia where transit isn’t seen as second class.