Saturday, August 13, 2011

Benefits of Privatization - LA Style

From Friday's LA Times:

These days, bus riders at stops around Los Angeles may find themselves without a bench to rest on.

City officials say the company that provides and manages roughly 6,000 bus benches began removing them last week because it was not awarded a new contract.

Norman Bench Advertising, which for more than a decade has maintained the benches in exchange for advertising revenue, has recently come under fire from officials for failing to disclose how many benches it has and how much money it reaps from displaying ads on them.
Board of Public Works Commissioner Andrea Alarcon said Thursday that the company has been "a difficult partner" and that benches have been removed from stops in at least three City Council districts.

Calls to William Giamela, the owner of the Canoga Park-based company, were not returned Thursday.

It continues.

It says the company 'provides and manages' the benches, so it would be interesting to know whether the benches they provided were supposed to be owned by the city or the company.  And how many benches existed before they got the contract?  Presumably most stops had benches before the contract.  Is this sour grapes for losing the contract or is there more to this story? 


  1. Well, if I understand the story well, then there were ads on the benches. If it is the case, then it is not sour grape in my opinion, because in Hungary you need to pay for the space to advertise. Therefore they could have kept it there but then the space wouldn't be "utilised" from the city's point of view.

    However there may be a solution to keep the benches without ads.

  2. Ropi, the city didn't remove the benches, the company that lost the contract removed the benches. First came benches for people to sit on. Then someone wanted to use the benches for advertising. The city contracted with a company to do that. But they didn't like how the company operated, so at the end of the contract, they picked a new company. The old company started removing benches. No place now for people to sit waiting for the bus.

  3. In Hungary at many stops you can't find benches. It is not very polite what the company is doing though.


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