School buses used as a fleet of rolling billboards


KidsIt seems that if somebody sees a surface anywhere in the United States that is not being used, they will slap an ad on it. Add school buses to the list in a cash-strapped New Mexico school system.

The buses of Rio Rancho Public School are the ones that are now in the advertising business. There are restrictions about what types of businesses can put a message on a bus, and cigarette or alcohol companies, among others, need not apply.

But dentists, pizza parlors, gymnasiums and many other categories are more than welcome to place an ad on a school bus.

The system told LIN Television’s CBS KRQE-TV in Albuqueque that about one third of its fleet has been carrying advertising for about a year now – that amounts to 25 buses.

The system has 12,000 kids and 1,900 bus stops, facts which spell a significant amount of street time for the commercial messages carried on the vehicles.

The school system is not selling the ads however – it has a contractor for that, with a 50-50 split between the two. Rio Rancho then has to send 40% of its cut to the state’s education department for statewide distribution.

The ads are priced at $200/month, and so far the project is said to have raked in $39K total. By the time all the cuts are made, Rio Rancho is getting $11.7K, which it plans to spend on laptops and other technological items.

RBR-TVBR observation: This is perhaps among the least of broadcast concerns at the moment, but it nonetheless puts members of the broadcast community into competition with elements of the government.

We will be glad when the economy is sufficiency cured to allow for proper funding of government-run endeavors such as public education so actual businesses can compete with one another without factoring in the government; and because frankly, we don’t like the idea of commercials on public places, or on public vehicles.