Good luck keeping city residents in their cars after this video.
There are efforts to make the city bus seem more appealing to people who don’t normally ride—maybe rebranding the system or, you know, actually improving service—and then there’s whatever Edmonton just did.
The Canadian metro’s new “COOL Bus” video has taken off like … the opposite of a bus staggering through city traffic. The ad shows people cheering when the bus arrives, not because they’ve been waiting forever but because they just love transit so much. It shows riders opening a window, not because the vehicle’s A/C is busted but because frosty gusts of air seem to work well for beer commercials. It shows a woman stroking a seat’s cloth lining, not because the feel of caked vomit gets her going but because she’s on mescaline.
Then there’s the driver. After entering the scene to Epic Movie Music, and gearing up in extra-grip gloves more than capable of strangling a fare-dodging straphanger, he turns to the camera and says: “Yeah, I’m cool.” Actually he’s too cool to say it. He just mouths it. The narrator says it for him. And the next stop, shown in big lights on the front of the bus? Just a little place called: “COOL.” (Population: you.)
Edmonton isn’t the first place to hype the bus with an overblown video campaign. The Danes are way ahead on that count—having dropped “Epic Bus Ad” on the world in late 2012 (what has two thumbs and a license to operate oversized passenger vehicles? This driver) then following it up earlier this year with “Epic Bus: The Sequel” (hold onto your panties, ladies). The Edmonton Transit System reportedly paid $27,000 for three COOL videos; if not riders, the ad is at least drawing eyes, with more than 300,000 Facebook views since last week.
An ETS spokeswoman told Metro she hopes the ads will show bus skeptics “the benefits of what you can get done on transit.” According to the clip those benefits begin and end with texting safely, but maybe as a nice bonus the Edmonton bus will actually take people places, too.