Calgary Transit users say political messages don't belong on teletext
Calgary Transit is making changes to how it displays advertisements through one of its services after some riders noticed a UCP ad on teletext.
Teletext is a way for transit users to get the arrival times of their bus and Ctrains via text message.
However, transit riders started questioning one of the messages they were receiving through the teletext service; it was from the United Conservative Party and was reminding them to vote on April 16th.
“I realized it was probably just an ad but I think for many other people and especially it being a public service and with so many people that may use it it may not be very clear that it’s just an ad and whether Calgary Transit supports it or not,” says Calgary Transit rider Alycia Barabash."I think the way it came across to me was that Calgary Transit was supporting this specific political party.”
Many other transit users felt the same and took to social media to express their disappointment and demanding answers from Calgary Transit
"Calgary transit does not support any of the ads we don't endorse any of the. It’s clearly just an ad space,” says Stephen Tauro with Calgary Transit. “It's paid advertisement and what that really does is it essentially allows us to offset some of the costs that are associated with providing transit service so there is a lot of value to it.”
“I think they may not have thought it through fully in terms of what their response might be; their money comes from public services and they’re part of the municipal government they could be thinking through other government advertising rules that they should be following,” says Peter Ryan a public relations professor at Mount Royal University. "These types of partisan ads have been propping up all across the country and especially they're a derivative of what's happening in the U.S. it's fairly new for a lot of Calgarians to be dealing with it.”
Calgary Transit says the messages are within Canada ad standards but after hearing concerns from the public; Calgary Transit will be making changes to how the ads pop up.
Calgary Transit will add a header to clearly distinguish between the arrival time and the ad and also plans to add a disclaimer at the bottom of the message to ensure the public knows it’s an advertisement.