official Translink email to V-TARP
Dear jerm IX and Vegas,
My name is ------- ---------, and I am the Manager of Customer Services and Marketing at TransLink. And as you may have already guessed, I’m writing to you in regards to the Vancouver Transit Ad Reclamation Project (V-TARP), your project to install artworks in the spaces used for advertising on our transit system.
To be sure, discussions about public space, its intersections with private interests, and its obligations to serve the community are very important. It’s something we think about at TransLink every day, as much of our work in planning and operating our transit system brings these issues of public space to the forefront.
However, we at TransLink have a limited budget with which to serve the people of this region. As residents balk at supporting transit through higher taxes, fares, or other fees, advertising from private companies provides an additional source of revenue that helps support our system.
So while the issues you raise in V-TARP are important, your project is sadly affecting a key funding source to make its point. By taking over our ad space and posting works that criticize our ads, V-TARP is creating a negative impact on TransLink’s relationship with advertisers, which is starting to cost our system in revenue. As such, we would like to ask if you could bring V-TARP to a close and refrain from posting further works on our advertising spaces.
Thus far, our transit advertising agency LAMAR has spent over $3,000 in labour charges to remove the V-TARP pieces. As well, a number of our larger advertisers have called LAMAR with concerns about the V-TARP projects. If the advertising environment becomes inhospitable, these accounts may cancel their contracts with us. Finally, if there are ad campaigns have been booked with LAMAR but are then cancelled before completion, TransLink is on the hook for the costs of that campaign. In the past, pulled campaigns have cost us $10,000-$20,000 in fees.
We do recognize the value of art to our system and our community, however, and if there is a way to work together in a way that does not impact our revenue sources, we would be happy to do it. For example, we are trying to expand our Poetry in Transit campaign beyond its current scope, into an Art on Transit program. We would love to work with you and other artists to build something that supports and enhances the public spaces that we all value.
Contact me if you would like to discuss the above opportunity further.