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Sao Paulo's going for that anti-marketing dollar. That's a good market.
June 19, 2007 10:11 AM   Subscribe

The city of Sao Paulo passed an ordinance last year banning outdoor advertising; photographer Tony de Marco has been documenting the skeletal remains of the advertising infrastructure throughout the city; the impact looks like the aftermath of a new type of atomic weapon that targets marketing but leaves buildings & people unscathed.
posted by jonson (84 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Interesting. Here in the US, existing advertisements would almost certainly be grandfathered in, so you'd never see something like that here.
posted by wierdo at 10:14 AM on June 19, 2007


Hey, apparently I like to use semicolons instead of periods; who knew?
posted by jonson at 10:15 AM on June 19, 2007


the impact looks like the aftermath of a new type of atomic weapon that targets marketing but leaves buildings & people unscathed.

In other words, a modern utopia?
posted by Dave Faris at 10:17 AM on June 19, 2007


I support new research and testing to develop this weapon.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:19 AM on June 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


Now pass an ordinance that puts art in its place. Giant murals, huge prints of photographs. That would be most excellent.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 10:20 AM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is fascinating on many levels. I wonder what the effects on consumer habits will be? Will this help smaller businesses or hurt them? With the landscape so un-saturated, will any ad that does manage to slip past the ban be many times more effective? How long before those now empty spaces are filled up with art, graffiti, and murals? What about advertising for public services or information, are they included in the ban? The photoblog is very interesting, but I'd be curious to see somebody investigating the short and long term economic effects as well.
posted by SBMike at 10:21 AM on June 19, 2007


Holy crap. And the mayor who did it is right-wing. Shows how screwed up the US political spectrum is when even our supposed ultra-liberals are more "business friendly" than that.
posted by DU at 10:23 AM on June 19, 2007


> Interesting. Here in the US, existing advertisements would
> almost certainly be grandfathered in, so you'd never see
> something like that here.

Many zoning codes allow for amortization of existing non-conforming signs. However, the compliance period is usually longer -- typically five to ten years to remove old signs. Politically it's very difficult to implement, especially in states where sign regulations have traditionally been lenient and visual pollution severe, such as Texas and Georgia. In a few states, including Florida, billboards are considered a protected land use; you can't amortize them away.
posted by elmwood at 10:23 AM on June 19, 2007


This is downright creepy. Ads are part of the landscape, even at olde Fenway Park. I'd be uncomfortable with a city or state government taking this approach in the States.
posted by ibmcginty at 10:27 AM on June 19, 2007


This is great, but just leaving the blank boards and empty signs seems half-assed. They should either fill it with art/photography as suggested above, or tear em down.
posted by dozo at 10:30 AM on June 19, 2007


Ads are part of the landscape...

Indeed. Our proto-human ancestors evolved in an advertising-rich environment and it would be dangerous to simply sweep them away without thinking of the possible medical and psychological ramifications.
posted by DU at 10:30 AM on June 19, 2007 [11 favorites]


Wow, that would be so completely awesome if they passed a law like that in NYC. I've always wondered why we let the advertisers disfigure so much of our public space.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:32 AM on June 19, 2007


Oh how I wish more cities and states in the US would adopt such a policy. In Arkansas a new stretch of interstate (I-540) was opened a few years ago with no billboards allowed along it, mostly because it's relatively short (about 45 miles) and goes through some very pretty Ozark country. It's very refreshing not to have the distraction of ugly, insipid billboards every few hundred feet. I don't miss them one bit.

To me, the only thing wrong with Sao Paulo's implementation of the policy is the remains of the signs. It'd be nice if they tore those down and sold the metal for scrap. CitrusFreak12's public art idea is pretty good, too.
posted by jedicus at 10:33 AM on June 19, 2007


Pepsi coup?
posted by Debaser626 at 10:36 AM on June 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


Frankly, as a marketer I'm surprised none of you are shedding a tear for the real victims of this tyranny, the average Juan Sixpack who will no longer be able to find out about valuable products and services that otherwise would have enriched his life. Won't somebody PLEASE think of the target??
posted by jonson at 10:36 AM on June 19, 2007 [3 favorites]


Would someone please explain what a populist right-wing mayor is? I always thought that would be a contradiction in terms.
posted by noble_rot at 10:38 AM on June 19, 2007


I love this.
posted by bshort at 10:38 AM on June 19, 2007


You'll be first up against the wall when the utopia comes, jonson.
posted by Dave Faris at 10:38 AM on June 19, 2007 [4 favorites]


Wow, that would be so completely awesome if they passed a law like that in NYC. I've always wondered why we let the advertisers disfigure so much of our public space.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:32 PM on June 19 [+] [!]


because it pays for EVERYTHING. think about the money that goes into advertising in times square every year. now imagine it gone and start thinking about how times square would look. now imagine your subway fare without cars covered in advertisements. tell you what, we all know the first things bloomberg would cut to make up for the lost revenue: that's right, schools and firehouses.
posted by shmegegge at 10:39 AM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think it is impractical to completely ban all outdoor advertising and, from the look of it, signage.

In any city, signage has a function beyond advertising, it helps one find a location and navigate.

I stayed a week in a seaside town that severely limited signage, only a few feet high, of natural materials, in complementary colors.

This I thought was a fantastic compromise. I could still find my condo and the grocery store, but not have to tolerate a 60' billboard for the T-Shirt Hut blocking part of the scenery I came to enjoy.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:45 AM on June 19, 2007


Would someone please explain what a populist right-wing....is?

I don't know anything about that mayor, but these conditions are easy to meet. For instance, a charismatic fundamentalist preacher. Or how about a rich guy with a fake accent who panders to a socially conservative base to enact neo-conservative action items (with a lot of extra pie for big business)? Also, there are a lot of right-wing militia-types in the US who imagine they are populist.
posted by DU at 10:45 AM on June 19, 2007


I like outdoor advertising - especially in photos. It helps anchor an image in time. Attractive or not, it's part of social discourse and I would find a cityscape without it very sterile.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 10:47 AM on June 19, 2007


Bill Hicks++
posted by zerolives at 10:48 AM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hey, apparently I like to use semicolons instead of periods; who knew?

In no way will that begin to justify your existence.
posted by nervousfritz at 10:49 AM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


The city of Sao Paulo passed an ordinance [...] the impact looks like the aftermath of a new type of atomic weapon that targets marketing but leaves buildings & people unscathed

So it's an ordinance that looks like ordnance?
posted by uncleozzy at 10:50 AM on June 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


I would find a cityscape without [outdoor advertising] very sterile.

This ordinance has revealed something to me. There is another species walking among us. They look human. They sound human. But they are not human.
posted by DU at 10:52 AM on June 19, 2007 [7 favorites]


It'd be nice if they tore those down and sold the metal for scrap.

In Brazil don't worry, someone will soon...
posted by iamck at 10:55 AM on June 19, 2007


dozo: "This is great, but just leaving the blank boards and empty signs seems half-assed. They should either fill it with art/photography as suggested above, or tear em down."

QFT, my man, QFT!
posted by symbioid at 10:56 AM on June 19, 2007


jonson, you've done it again, you magnificent bastard!
posted by Mister_A at 10:56 AM on June 19, 2007


Interesting. Here in the US, existing advertisements would almost certainly be grandfathered in, so you'd never see something like that here.

Here in Hawaii billboards are not allowed at all and while there are certainly cases of marketing (I wish I had a picture...big car insurance ads on elevator doors), going back to the mainland it is a shock to see all the billboards for cars, beer, etc.

Most of this work keeping the marketers at bay is by The Outdoor Circle whose victories include purchasing the last billboard company and closing it down in 1926 and passing legislation to get rid of billboards in 1927.
posted by lil' ears at 10:57 AM on June 19, 2007


I would follow this up by rounding up all marketing executives and putting them to work in the sewage treatment plant.
posted by 2sheets at 10:58 AM on June 19, 2007


Once they ban the skeletal remains of the advertising infrastructure this should get interesting. They may become a major producer and exporter of things that pop into people's heads.
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:59 AM on June 19, 2007


jedicus, I agree, having driven that stretch of road many times. ;)

Fayetteville's sign ordinance is funny, though. They still have a million ginormous signs, but new construction, by god, has to have the little tiny signs. I find the funniest part to be the prohibition on changeable signs changing more than once every half hour.

Of course, driving around Springdale for a while makes one understand why Fayetteville is so strict about it now. Billboards and giant pole signs. If that wasn't enough, changeable message signs flashing various colors at intersections and confusing drivers. It's amazing to see two cities of such wildly different character so close together.
posted by wierdo at 11:00 AM on June 19, 2007


Interesting. Here in the US, existing advertisements would almost certainly be grandfathered in, so you'd never see something like that here.

Yeah, that gets you the sidewalk overhang, but not much help when eminent domain takes the whole block.
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:01 AM on June 19, 2007


Would someone please explain what a populist right-wing....is?

Hitler...

I am so sorry, it was just sitting there and I had to take it...

More on topic, however, I have to agree that an absolute ban on advertising would make cities look pretty bland. This seems like a pretty puritanical way of confronting a problem that most already deal (or attempt to) with in zoning ordinances.
posted by Pacheco at 11:02 AM on June 19, 2007


I'd be uncomfortable with a city or state government taking this approach in the States.

Vermont did it almost 40 years ago. That's why it's so durned purty up there.
posted by MaxVonCretin at 11:02 AM on June 19, 2007


buga up!
posted by bruce at 11:20 AM on June 19, 2007


oddly relevant post on Ironic Sans today
posted by milestogo at 11:36 AM on June 19, 2007


would make cities look pretty bland

for a look-see, watch The Matrix, IIRC.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:43 AM on June 19, 2007


Would someone please explain what a populist right-wing mayor is? I always thought that would be a contradiction in terms.

Uh, the most populist president in recent US history was Ronald Reagan. [g]

Hey, you know who else was a right-wing populist ... ?

just leaving the blank boards and empty signs seems half-assed

That's weird, but they must have used some formal definition of signage that excluded structures not presently used. I expect the skeletons remain up because owners expect the regulations will be overturned or relaxed in time.

I'd be uncomfortable with a city or state government taking this approach in the States.

A number of Interstate highways have (frequently ignored) restrictions on billboards, e.g. size or distance from the ROW. The blue signs with logos for GAS, FOOD, or LODGING are meant to replace the need for visual pollution along exit ramps (partly for safety) and to a lesser extent the highway itself.

I know that ca. 1975-80, when we were driving to Florida every Christmas, there was a marked change in at least (I think) Georgia as a billboard statute went into effect.
posted by dhartung at 11:43 AM on June 19, 2007


1. Semicolons rock; see?
2. I wish more cities would try this.
posted by chuckdarwin at 11:51 AM on June 19, 2007


Otto: Lobotomy? Isn't that for loonies?

Parnell: Not at all. Friend of mine had one. Designer of the advertising bomb. You ever hear of the advert-bomb? Destroys commercials- leaves buildings standing. Fits in a suitcase. It's so small, no one knows it's there until - BLAMMO. Ads melt, commercials explode, all of them dead. So immoral, working on the thing can drive you mad. That's what happened to this friend of mine. So he had a lobotomy. Now he's well again.

[Paraphrased, natch]
posted by quin at 12:07 PM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


How do people in Sao Paulo know how far they are from South of the Border?
posted by Challahtronix at 12:17 PM on June 19, 2007


Otto: This friend of yours ... does he drive a city bus?
posted by localroger at 12:18 PM on June 19, 2007


The Khmer Rouge instituted a similar policy in Phnom Penh. After they evacuated the city, cleaning squads painted all signage out with whitewash. Year Zero, who needs to read anymore? Brand New Day.

Wish I could find some links to it, but I can't.
posted by Meatbomb at 12:29 PM on June 19, 2007


These comments are making me think of the ghost ads that I always notice wherever I go. I love those things. There's one for Fanta (or "fish soda" as I now call it) that's on a building next to a gas station I go to a lot in SF. It shows a kid in a space helmet with a gun, and when I'm filling my tank I always stare at it. Looks kind of fifties... the gun is a big tip off that it's either not recent or it's someone's art piece. I always stare at it and wonder when it was done, if it's been kept up or if that's the original paint. I wonder to myself who decided on having a gun-toting space boy sell orange soda. I even called the phone number on it, from where it lists the sign painter. I was curious if they were in business now or if that was a number from decades ago... a dead phone line that once led to people who have long since disappeared. Nobody answered.

Still didn't make me want to drink fish soda though.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:38 PM on June 19, 2007


A number of Interstate highways have (frequently ignored) restrictions on billboards, e.g. size or distance from the ROW

Little known fact: it was Lady Bird Johnson who was the mover behind this (Highway Beautification Act, PL 89-285).

Oh for a 'do-gooder' governance that actually gave a shit about the public sphere again.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 12:48 PM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Santa Cruz County did this years ago. It really does improve the quality of life.
posted by hilker at 12:50 PM on June 19, 2007


A few months ago, i found advertisements on my eggs. That's right, i said ADS ON MY EGGS! Has anyone else seen these? The expiration dates were printed on each egg, and i guess they figured they might as well sell some ad space while they were at it. Haven't seen them again, so maybe it was a failed experiment...

Those flat-screen Ad-only TVs keep popping up everywhere too... As technology improves, it won't be long before it's possible to have full-motion video on just about any surface.

Where will we draw the line? Is every square-inch of public and private space for sale?
posted by TechnoLustLuddite at 1:05 PM on June 19, 2007


Mankind will never be free until the last advertising copywriter is strangled with the entrails of the last vice-president of marketing.
posted by infobomb at 1:20 PM on June 19, 2007 [4 favorites]


I'm not sure I'm comfortable telling people what they can and can't do just because I don't like the way it looks.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 1:38 PM on June 19, 2007


Those empty billboards and frames are really stunning. They look more natural there any artwork commissioned to replace the advertising would.
posted by Shakeer at 2:00 PM on June 19, 2007


I'm not sure I'm comfortable telling people what they can and can't do just because I don't like the way it looks.

People can do whatever they like in private spaces. These bans apply to public spaces.
posted by uri at 2:15 PM on June 19, 2007


it must be heaven to live in a place without all that advertising jammed in your face.

they should use the billboards for public art instead now.
posted by cazoo at 2:32 PM on June 19, 2007


These bans apply to public spaces.

What's a public space? We're not talking about publicly-owned areas. We're talking about privately-owned areas that are visible to others.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 2:33 PM on June 19, 2007


¬°YAY COMMUNISM!!!!
posted by darkripper at 3:21 PM on June 19, 2007


Where will we draw the line? Is every square-inch of public and private space for sale?

truthfully? yes.
posted by shmegegge at 3:29 PM on June 19, 2007


We're talking about privately-owned areas that are visible to others.

Yes, but unless you're also against noise ordinances and anti-dumping laws, the fact that it is visual doesn't belie the fact that outdoor advertisements impose on people in public areas. As a societies often limit the ability of the individual to annoy, pester and interfere with other individuals. It's not rocket science.
posted by uri at 3:40 PM on June 19, 2007


Stupid half-edits...


"As a Societies often limit"
posted by uri at 3:48 PM on June 19, 2007


they should use the billboards for public art instead now

I dunno. I would rather see a billboard for an insurance agency than another rainbow-y mural celebrating cultural diversity. At least I know what the billboard is trying to do: it's trying to convince me that Pete Whisenhunt will provide me and my family with affordable term life insurance. The public art, on the other hand, seems to have a more sinister agenda lurking behind those multiethnic childrens' smiles. It's also communicating a message, a loaded one, sponsored by .....whom? The State? Some civic committee? I don't know, but it creeps me out. Public art is civic propaganda.

Even if it's good, which most of it isn't.

Yay, advertising!
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:57 PM on June 19, 2007


So does Sao Paolo have a lot of postering? It seems like that would be even more effective in an ad-free area, and it's not like they are legal in the first place.
posted by smackfu at 3:59 PM on June 19, 2007


WALL DRUG
200 miles
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:08 PM on June 19, 2007


WALL DRUG
100 miles
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:10 PM on June 19, 2007


Those billboard skeletons are fugly, but still better than if they had ads on them.
posted by ldenneau at 4:11 PM on June 19, 2007


CD: Now I know of two things in South Dakota! The other one is, uh... Pierre? Yeah, Pierre.
posted by blacklite at 5:56 PM on June 19, 2007


What is so refreshing is the Adveritising Exec who doesn't start bitching and moaning about any right or a 'taking' away of a means of income, but as a challenge to advertise or promote differently.
posted by Azaadistani at 6:40 PM on June 19, 2007


Public advertising adds no value. Public advertising is visual pollution. Pollution is waste. Eliminating waste creates wealth by redirecting economic resources to more productive uses. Rent-seekers and salesmen are economic tapeworms. Don't let these parasites confiscate your wealth.
posted by FreedomTickler at 6:55 PM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yes, but unless you're also against noise ordinances and anti-dumping laws, the fact that it is visual doesn't belie the fact that outdoor advertisements impose on people in public areas. As a societies often limit the ability of the individual to annoy, pester and interfere with other individuals. It's not rocket science.

While it's not rocket science, it's also not as simple as you're making it out to be. Noise and dumped waste can't be avoided by turning your head. The amount of annoyance created by them is far higher than that created by an ad. Some people like ads, or at least find them interesting, while far fewer people like loud noises or repugnant odors. The balance between the right of the private property owner to use his property as he sees fit and that of everyone else not to have to look at something isn't the same as that between a noise polluter or a waste-dumper.

If you're worried about visual annoyance, why not outlaw ugly buildings? There are plenty of those, even if we can't all agree which ones are ugly and which ones aren't.

Public advertising adds no value. Public advertising is visual pollution. Pollution is waste. Eliminating waste creates wealth by redirecting economic resources to more productive uses. Rent-seekers and salesmen are economic tapeworms. Don't let these parasites confiscate your wealth.

How is my placing an advertisement on my property taking anything away from your wealth? You apparently have quite an odd definition of wealth.
posted by me & my monkey at 7:10 PM on June 19, 2007


Emitting pollution from your property diminishes the value of my property, and I think it is you who lacks understanding of the nature of wealth.
posted by FreedomTickler at 7:33 PM on June 19, 2007


Public advertising is coercive in a way that most other forms of advertising are not. If I choose to turn on the television or read a newspaper, I do so with the understanding that the publication is supported by advertising. If I do not wish to see the advertising, I do not have to read the paper. This is a voluntary exchange, and an informal contract.

With public advertising, I can only choose between donating my attention to read your unwanted message, or expending effort to identify and avoid the unwanted message. Either way, you are forcing me to expend my own resources in order to further your own profit. That is coercive, and it is theft.

You miss the point about ugly buildings. A building may be ugly, and I may choose to expend resources in order to avoid it, but it is unlikely that anybody is profiting from its ugliness. I do not object to ugliness per se. I object to coercion. You want my time and attention? You better be prepared to fucking pay me for it.
posted by FreedomTickler at 7:58 PM on June 19, 2007


Emitting pollution from your property diminishes the value of my property

Sure, but just because you say something is pollution, doesn't mean that it is.

A building may be ugly, and I may choose to expend resources in order to avoid it, but it is unlikely that anybody is profiting from its ugliness. I do not object to ugliness per se. I object to coercion.

It seems to me that you object to someone's profiting from your coercion, not the coercion itself. I don't see how a striking-but-ugly design is any less coercive of your attention than an ad on the building itself. Perhaps the architect wants your time and attention.

In any case, FreedomTickler, does your freedom not to be mildly annoyed outweigh the right of the owner of the property to use it as he sees fit? How mild could your annoyance be for your freedom to outweigh his, or is this freedom of yours absolute?
posted by me & my monkey at 8:36 PM on June 19, 2007


Looking at the pictures it appears that local businesses are not allowed to have signs on the outside of their business to announce what they are.

That goes way beyond trying to make things less ugly. It's a pain in the ass for the customer as well as the owner.
posted by Meep! Eek! at 8:38 PM on June 19, 2007


Looking at the pictures it appears that local businesses are not allowed to have signs on the outside of their business to announce what they are.

I may be remembering this wrongly, but I think that's how it was when I spent a week or so in Bologna. Even without knowing much Italian, I managed to find the businesses I was after without much trouble (they had signs on the windows and doors) - and the "no-signs" thing made the city especially beautiful.
posted by bunglin jones at 9:07 PM on June 19, 2007


A few months ago, i found advertisements on my eggs. That's right, i said ADS ON MY EGGS!

The scary part isn't the ads, it's the genetic engineering required to make the chicken lay them that way.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:39 PM on June 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


This is great.

Historical cities in particular should do this. It's stupid to carefully preserve the appearance of a 500-year-old building and then let someone put a neon beer sign over or next to it.

Let advertisers use other routes into people's heads -- cell-phone ads in exchange for free calls -- and stay the fuck off the horizon.
posted by pracowity at 5:38 AM on June 20, 2007


Looking at the pictures it appears that local businesses are not allowed to have signs on the outside of their business to announce what they are.

That goes way beyond trying to make things less ugly. It's a pain in the ass for the customer as well as the owner.


That's a good point. It seems to me that if there's one place an ad is totally appropriate, it's on a store front.
posted by SBMike at 7:18 AM on June 20, 2007


RTFA. Sao Paulo businesses are allowed to have signs, they are just limited in size.
posted by TechnoLustLuddite at 7:43 AM on June 20, 2007


Those billboard skeletons are fugly, but still better than if they had ads on them.

I love them. It's like looking at your enemies' skulls hanging from the beams in your banquet hall.
posted by No Robots at 10:09 AM on June 20, 2007


Though I disagree, I think this is an interesting viewpoint.
posted by smably at 10:29 AM on June 20, 2007


Yah, those are great points, smably. How I miss the old neon signs! What a mistake Vancouver made. But would they have remained today, even without the ordinance? I mean that I don't recall that kind of vintage look on Robson. The problem is that our cities are buried under super-human scale structures: buildings, ads, roads, housing developments, malls. It is we who are the expendable accessories in the urban landscape.
posted by No Robots at 12:42 PM on June 20, 2007


I wish we had some kind of "before" photos to go with the "after" ones. I've googled up a few one-off photos of Sao Paulo with lots of advertising, but it'd be nice to see a collection of "this intersection before/after" pairs.

I'm torn on this idea, really. I dislike advertising more than most, and my initial reaction was "awesome!" But schmegegge makes a good point about how some advertising dollars subsidize services that we might not want to pay more for, especially public transportation.

The photographer talks about discovering a house for the first time, one that had previously been hidden by a massive billboard. He delights in a new architectural example, and doesn't seem to consider the effect this has on the family who lives there, even after pointing out that the family must have been desperate for money to allow a giant ad to be placed in front of their home. Obviously I think it's more important to fix the poverty problem, so people won't be driven to sell ads on their homes, but taking away a tiny source of their small income isn't necessarily something to celebrate.

Alas, I finally found something that I thought I could support without reservation, and it turns out there's still a lot of gray area. Will nothing ever be clear?
posted by Inconceivable! at 12:43 PM on June 20, 2007


I am not sure of the mechanism whereby advertising revenue paid to the billboard owners reaches public transport coffers.
Clear Channel seem to own most of the billboards in my area (in the UK).

Are billboards rented from the local authority on a yearly basis?

No advertising is good advertising, in general.

However, I do like me some good graffiti, Which Sao Paolo also has.
posted by asok at 5:18 PM on June 20, 2007


I am not sure of the mechanism whereby advertising revenue paid to the billboard owners reaches public transport coffers

asok, the ads whose revenue goes to public transport are typically on public transport - sides of buses, walls in subway stations and bus stops, etc. I would imagine that the billboard money goes to the billboard owners and stays there.
posted by Inconceivable! at 5:38 AM on June 21, 2007


'ads whose revenue goes to public transport are typically on public transport'

That makes sense. Public transport is privately owned now in the UK and is extortionately expensive. I would rather it were state owned, advert free and subsidised accordingly.

In Paris there is no advertising on the Metro, and it is a very pleasant environment to be in. That and the quiet trains make it the best underground train system I have experienced. The tickets are not expensive, but then the French still seem to have a sensible attitude to public transport.
posted by asok at 7:00 AM on June 21, 2007


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