When advertising trumps transport information

Advertising and Melbourne’s tram stops: Yarra Trams makes a stack of cash from them, leasing their infrastructure to outdoor advertising company Adshel, who then onsell the space for marketing campaigns.

Some tram shelters only have a few posters on them.

More QR National advertising, this time at a Melbourne tram stop: Collins and Swanston Streets

Some get the all over marketing treatment.

Bacardi advertising at the Queen Street tram stop on Bourke Street

This one even has a video screen inset in the glass, showing a short commercial on an endless loop.

Tram stop covered in advertising for Mount Buller

However one thing Adshel doesn’t seem capable of taking into consideration the people who actually use the tram stop – passengers.

Last year I found this tram stop outside Southern Cross Station, where someone resorted to attacking the advertising in order to uncover the tram network map hiding beneath.

Yarra Trams network map outside Southern Cross Station, previously covered by advertising

Fast forward to 2013 and Adshel are still at it: covering tram network maps with advertising.

Ad wrapped Town Hall tram stop on Collins Street, hiding the network map behind the stickers

It seems this advert is fresh, as the sticker peeled right off.

Yarra Trams network map hiding behind the advertising slogans

Say hi to Jake the TramTracker dog for me – with no map at the stop, tourists are going to have to find their way around the tram network on their own!


After publishing this post, I emailed Public Transport Victoria to find out what they had to say about the advertising:

Is there a requirement for advertising material on the public transport network to not cover official signage?

Will the advertising at the Collins Street tram stop be removed to ensure that the official network map is visible to passengers?

Are there any procedures in place to ensure that advertising material on the public transport network does not cover official signage in future?

About a week later I got the following response from Yarra Trams:

Any signage that was there would have been illegally posted and has since been removed. Your report of this is greatly appreciated, any sighting you have in the future please report to us if you have the chance so a crew can respond to remove posters/clean up the shelter.

The above didn’t really answer my question – the signage in question were placed their by Yarra Trams’s own outdoor advertising contractor – so I sent off a reply:

Do the advertising companies have permission to cover the network maps, and if so, why are they allowed to cover them? And if they aren’t supposed to cover them up, do the work crew know not to do so?

After waiting a week, I got a response:

Your feedback has been discussed with the Marketing Department Manager and understands that, while this is not in any way a regular occurrence, it is something we consider totally unacceptable. Yarra Trams is in the process of initiating a new process with our contracted advertising supplier to prevent future occurrences of this nature.

So what is their new process?

Network map removed from a tram shelter on Collins Street, allowing the ad wrapping to cover the entire stop

Completely removing the network map so you can’t tell that something is hidden!

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4 Responses to “When advertising trumps transport information”

  1. Dan says:

    Where is this tram stop? This is an absolute joke

  2. MK says:

    I sent a complaint to PTV/Yarra Trams about this.

    The response was terse and concise; this advertising was considered “totally unacceptable”. YT is now in the midst of creating a new process to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

    Thanks Marcus for the post and highlighting such an oversight!

  3. […] Yarra Trams lease their infrastructure to outdoor advertising company Adshel, who bear the responsibility for cleaning and repairing tram stop shelters, funding it by onselling the space for marketing campaigns. As you can assume, revenue is usually the first priority – covering tram network maps. […]

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