Would you find lots of oval shaped stations popping up all over the place in your city an eyesore? And they have advertising on them.
Still, I reckon you wouldn’t. You see they’re bike exchange stations and in Paris they’ve got them every 300 metres or so. And I just know that beauty is not just in the eye of the beholder, but also in the eye of the beholder of the purpose of the ugliness.
How do I know this? Because I live in Melbourne. And Melbourne trams require wires overhead to do their trundling down the street. And people like all those overhead wires. Indeed they celebrate them. And they like trams even though buses cost less and are more convenient in many ways.
Meanwhile, things weren’t so hunky for Optus when they were installing much less intrusive overhead cables back in the 1990s. I’m not complaining by the way. I like tram cables, and find that the way I’m connected to the ground with rails and steel wheels somehow more comforting than being in a bus.
In the meantime although the Paris bike swap program doesn’t seem to make much environmental or economic sense, there’s something that pushes it over the line commercially. Those ads on the stations. And my guess is that while people might dislike ads in lots of other places, like those overhead wires in Melbourne intersections, those Parisians kind of like the ads. I’d probably be the same.