BTA ads: the bus stops here

Allow me, as managing director of British Transport Advertising, to allay any confusion following the recent “musical chairs” in the bus advertising contracts business and the misleading information that has been circulating (MW December 9). Changes are on the way – but because of contract terms, in many cases not for one or two years yet.

To my regret, Badgerline has decided to move its contract from BTA to Metrobus, the business that has gone thgough a number of structural changes since it was purchased out of Primesight.

In December, LTA announced that it would be taking contracts from BTA (British Bus, Cambus, Maidstone & District, Wilts & Dorset and Go Ahead). This came after BTA had announced its own capture of a further 20 per cent of the London bus advertising market (through the East London and Selkent bus companies).

These recent LTA wins and the other contracts changing hands account for approximately ú4.5m in annual billings. With this level of spend, all buyers must realise that many of these changes will not take place for several months, and in some cases not for two or more years.

On December 1, an LTA press statement announced that “As of today, these new wins mean that we will now control a quarter of the national market…” This is not true, because “as of today” the majority of the fleets are contracted to BTA and well into 1995 and 1996. So for all budgeting and planning purposes it is business as usual and any attempts by LTA to create a different impression are regrettable.

BTA takes its role as market leader seriously. So to clarify the position we will publish an objective list of the recent contract reviews and when changes will actually take effect. Contrary to what people might have been saying, BTA will be trading in 1995 with healthy bus advertising billings sitting alongside our other operations AdRail and Advantage (roadside billboards).

Roger Fernley

Managing director

British Transport Advertising

London W1

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