The T plans to undergo a digital transformation – hanging 55-inch illuminated panels above several of its T stations’ entrances.
T rider Stacey Pietrowicz said, “Anytime you’re giving the public information it’s a good thing.”
MassDOT says the so-called digital urban panels will also show brief ads, as a way to maximize self-generated, non-transportation revenue, in order to avoid increasing fares.
“I’m a marketing student so I kind of like the idea of ads a little bit,” said T customer Michael Lee, “but as long as the information is getting out there, then I think it would be beneficial to the city.”
But not everyone agrees.
Geri Belle said, “I think it’s a terrible idea.”
Margo Welch of Cambridge added, “Hideous, spoiling the beautiful sky, outrageous.”
In fact at a MassDOT hearing Thursday, the Friends of the Public Garden pleaded with the agency to spare the Park Street and Arlington Street stations, across the street from Boston’s historic parks.
The executive director of the Friends of the Public Garden Liz Vizza said, “We should not be selling our city’s streetscapes for revenue and for ads.”
MassDOT said in a statement, “Displaying real-time transit information and special service announcements, the panels represent an important part of the MBTA’s ongoing efforts to improve its communications with customers.”
Vizza said, “I think people are getting things online, we can dial up and find out whether a train is running on time or not, I don’t think we need to have a billboard to do that for us.”
MassDOT’s Outdoor Advertising department said Thursday it will be considering all public input before moving forward with the signs.