January 28, 2020 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Banning Rooftop Ads on Cars?

L.A. City Council considers idea.

By Keldine Hull

With the rise of digital rooftop advertisements on taxicabs and on-demand rideshare vehicles, many members of Los Angeles City Council have voiced their concern regarding public safety and billboard blight. During a Transportation Committee meeting held on February 14, arguments were presented both for and against a proposed motion requesting the City Attorney to prepare an ordinance to repeal Taxicab Board Rule 415(C), which allows commercial advertising to be mounted on a taxicab roof or trunk.  

Councilmembers Robert Blumenfield, who proposed the notion, and Mike Bonin did not mince words when it came to addressing the long-term effects of digital rooftop advertising on the community.

According to Councilmember Mike Bonin, “This is more than an accident waiting to happen; this is a potential calamity waiting to happen. There have been a number of people on the City Council for a very long time who’ve been concerned about billboard blight, particularly digital billboards. What we have on the horizon is the potential of mobile digital billboards driving all around our city, parking and advertising junk food near our schools or our playgrounds. Unless this is taken care of and unless we start enforcing the state law, which prohibits it in the first place, we are really going to have a disaster that all of us are going to be hearing about.”

Councilmember Blumenfield outlined the reasons behind the notion to ban the rooftop ads. “I’ve been focused on billboard blight for a long time, particularly mobile billboard blight. We had the scourge of it happening in the San Fernando Valley. We had these unhitched trailers that were just ruining our quality of life and it took several state laws that I had to author to give the City the power to get rid of those. We made a very clear law about what can and can’t be done in terms of mobile billboards. It’s a sad state of affairs right now where folks who are trying to profit on the public right of way, we call them blight merchants, are luring Uber drivers, Lyft drivers and taxi drivers to commit a crime in the city.”

Blumenfield also added that digital advertising on taxis and rideshare could also expand to personal vehicles and become a dangerous distraction to drivers. “We know that it is a distraction. It would not be an effective advertisement if it was not a distraction. The whole point of the billboard is to distract you. That is why people are paying money to put their ad on a billboard. That is a danger on the road, and it could be a life or death situation for some people down the road having those billboards everywhere.”

Pete Gould with Firefly argued that with digital rooftop ads, drivers can make an additional $300 monthly. “Firefly is a smart city communications platform for engaging the urban population. We deploy digital smart screens on top of the existing fleet of taxis and full time rideshare drivers. We offer as much as a 20 percent boost to their hourly income without working any additional hours or driving additional miles. Not only will our devices help taxi drivers earn additional money, they will also help bring much-needed innovation to the industry so that they can better compete with rideshare as well by offering free in-vehicle WiFi.”

Other Firefly employees stated that Firefly devices are compliant with state and local requirements. They also pointed out that displays are only allowed on vehicles of full-time drivers which represent less than 1 percent of drivers on the road in Los Angeles.

Taxicab drivers in attendance argued that with a loss of 75 percent of their income, digital advertising offers them a means to earn more income and compete with rideshare giants Lyft and Uber. They also point out that the lights from the ads make it easier for riders to find them, especially in areas that are poorly lit.

Rideshare drivers from Uber and Lyft who use Firefly’s ads on their vehicles voiced their support of digital advertising at the meeting. According to Damien Cortez, a  Navy veteran and father of two who works for Uber, Lyft and Firefly, other distractions present a greater risk to public safety than rooftop digital advertising. “I’ve never once seen any endangerment in the road. If anything, I see more people on their cell phones, smoking marijuana while driving, or drinking and driving. But cell phone use is the number one distraction we see in those roads in Los Angeles. Being born in East Los Angeles and raised in South Central, I drive in those areas and with Firefly I feel safe. I feel that I stand out.”

 

Related Posts

Three More Retailers Announced for Culver Steps Development

January 27, 2020

January 27, 2020

Beauty, coffee, ice cream retailers coming By Sam Catanzaro Three additional commercial tenants have been announced for The Culver Steps,...

Sweetgreens is opening a new location: Westside Local Show – January, 27, 2020

January 27, 2020

January 27, 2020

All your local news, events and happenings in under 5 minutes. * Sweetgreens is opening a new location. * Roma...

Edify TV: Ferris Wheel Lights up for Kobe Bryant

January 27, 2020

January 27, 2020

The Pacific Park Ferris wheel on Santa Monica Pier turned purple and gold to honor Kobe Bryant, who passed away Sunday in a helicopter crash...

An Inside Look at New Culver City Restaurant, Piccalilli LA!

January 25, 2020

January 25, 2020

This restaurant opened up in the former Piology space, right across from the newly opened Amazon Studios and just a...

Local landmark transforming into hotel? Westside Local Show – January, 23, 2020

January 23, 2020

January 23, 2020

Westside Local Show – January, 23, 2020 – All your local news, events and happenings in under 5 minutes. * Local...

DUI Checkpoint on Westside This Weekend

January 23, 2020

January 23, 2020

DUI and license checkpoint Thursday, Friday and Saturday night By Chad Winthrop A Los Angeles Police Department DUI checkpoint is...

Chinese Social Media Giant Opens Expanded Culver City Headquarters

January 23, 2020

January 23, 2020

120,000 square-foot Bristol Parkway space has a new tenant By Sam Catanzaro One of the fastest-growing apps in the world...

Missing Culver City Middle School Teacher Located

January 22, 2020

January 22, 2020

By Staff Writer Culver City education officials have announced that a middle school teacher has been found safe after she...

Culver City 2020 Homeless Count This Week

January 20, 2020

January 20, 2020

The Culver City 2020 Homelessness Count is coming up this week, with nearly 100 volunteers signed up for this annual event. While the...

Missing middle school teacher in Culver City: Westside Local Show – January, 20, 2020

January 20, 2020

January 20, 2020

All your local news, events and happenings in under 5 minutes. * Missing middle school teacher in Culver City.* Free museum...

Martin Luther King Jr. Day on the Westside

January 19, 2020

January 19, 2020

Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be observed Monday with numerous events planned throughout Los Angeles honoring Martin Luther King...

Man Fatally Shot by Police in Culver City Wieleded ‘Bicycle Part’, Not Gun LAPD Says

January 19, 2020

January 19, 2020

Police release more information on fatal shooting following calls for more transparency By Sam Catanzaro Law enforcement officials have announced...

SB 50 Revival Sought, With Big Changes

January 17, 2020

January 17, 2020

By Tom Elias, Westside Today Columnist Every time Scott Wiener amends his SB 50 plan to force much higher housing...

Culver City developments with no parking? Westside Local Show – January, 17, 2020

January 17, 2020

January 17, 2020

All your local news, events and happenings in under 5 minutes. * Culver City developments with no parking?* Blind Barber disco...

Micro-Apartments for Culver City?

January 16, 2020

January 16, 2020

Culver City City Council takes steps to allow micro-units to fulfill housing needs By Sam Catanzaro High demand for housing...

Comments
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *