Behind the seats of these long China-made buses called "King Long", which have been going up and down the streets of Tehran for the past couple of years, there is an allocated space, approximately the size of a post-card, for placing a paper or a card. This space, of course, still lacks any sort of advertisement and remains empty. A little while ago I noticed that the commuters had used the space for placing their business cards in; so and so mechanic and so and so beauty salon. It hadn’t really caught my attention until a few days ago, when I found a chamber music group’s business card. I thought to myself: what capacity this small space has for the advertising needs of the public. I remembered the work of those two young art students who on Valentine’s day sold flowers to people on the streets, intertwined with those who sell homes and produce and those who sell themselves in the city.
I don’t know what goes through our official's heads when they roll up their sleeves and get to work as soon as a brilliant idea pops into their minds. They seldom think of the practical consequences of their implementation, especially, if they have a little bit of power and more importantly the money needed for putting projects into effect. It’s as if common sense disappears with power and money.
I think it’s a couple of years now, that in addition to billboards, we now have poster boards. These are temporary, metal poles on which public announcements, product advertisements, or theater notices appear. It may even have an official name, which I’m unaware of. These billboards are usually on a vertical scaffold-pipe, connected to a streetlight pole with a clip or something of the sort. At the top and bottom of the billboard there are another two scaffold pipes, each approximately 2 meters long, passed through the material so as to keep it straight and taut. These two pipes are also each fastened with the same clip of sorts to the vertical scaffold.
Given that the streetlight poles are by default situated on the side of the street closest to the pedestrian walkways, many of these temporary billboards, depending on the angle of their construction, end up hanging above the head of the pedestrian. If you’re thinking that I’m worried about the instability, or the solidity of the structure, or the possibility of them falling on pedestrians such as myself, you are sadly mistaken. Human life is worthless. Every year a throng of people are run over and crushed on the roads, or they suffer respiratory problems due to our one-of-a-kind pollution in the cities. What does the life of some four unlucky pedestrians really matter then? The functional problem of these billboards is that if those two-meter long scaffolds which I presume each weigh anywhere from ten to twelve kilograms, fall on the head of a pedestrian from a distance of a meter, it’s unclear who the deceased’s family can hold accountable. Who is responsible? The mayor? The Organization for the Beautification of Tehran? Auto-services? The sale center for irons and metal scaffolds? Or, the pedestrian himself who should have crossed from the main street instead of the sidewalk. You decide, is the sidewalk the place for pedestrians or advertisements?
Urban Bus Rally
It was around three in the morning as we were driving in the highways of Tehran. The driver was going fast and he was mumbling that the desire for speed in Tehran is due to the complex formed from the many hours spent daily behind traffic. I saw the poster for the “Urban Bus Rally” and thought that it was probably organized by Tehran’s municipality in order to thank the bus drivers for performing such a difficult task, encouraging them, and dealing with the afore mentioned "complex". It was exactly the case. From the 10 to 15 April 2010 drivers sped from Tehran to Qazvin, Rasht, Anzali, Ardabil, Tabriz, Zanjan, Qazvin and back to Tehran. I just couldn’t understand why the head of the Tehran Bus Company (TBC) had thought that “The buses travelling in between these destinations can help in promoting the culture of public transportation in the cities situated in the rally route, and encouraging people to use public transport”.
In any case the public does not use urban buses for intercity travels. However you choose to look at it, the traffic problem is not going to be solved by having rallies on intercity roads. Wouldn’t it have been better if you just let the drivers have fun with it?