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Bill allowing ads on city bus exteriors wins preliminary approval

  • COURTESY CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULUCity officials point out that advertising on city buses, as shown on buses parked at the Ala­pai Street bus depot, was a common site on Oahu streets through much of the 20th century when the transit service was operated by a private firm. The city took over bus operations in 1971.
    COURTESY CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU
    City officials point out that advertising on city buses, as shown on buses parked at the Ala­pai Street bus depot, was a common site on Oahu streets through much of the 20th century when the transit service was operated by a private firm. The city took over bus operations in 1971.

The Honolulu City Council this morning gave preliminary approval to a bill allowing advertising on the exterior of city buses.

Bill 69 now goes to the Council Budget Committee for further discussion.

Council Chairman Ernie Martin was the sole “no” in an 8-1 vote. Martin said he philosophically is opposed to the idea of selling ads on the sides of TheBus — which Mayor Kirk Caldwell projects could raise up to $8 million for bus service.

Martin said he will be introducing his own bills to raise revenues.

Councilman Ron Menor said he wants to hear from Corporation Counsel Donna Leong, the city’s top civil attorney, on how the proposal may affect the city’s existing sign laws.

Councilman Joey Manahan said he wants the Council to consider implementing the bus ad plan as a pilot project first so the city can assess its impact before deciding whether to make the policy permanent.

About a dozen people testified. Most, including representatives from the Outdoor Circle, said they opposed the bill.

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