Monday, May 21, 2007

Do you have a hard time finding a parking space? Take the bus or tram if you go to the city. That’s the message Belgian bus company De Lijn (The Line) is sending to promote public transport as a solution for car parking problems. As a part of their media campaign, they have jokingly suggested that people use the top of the busses as parking space.

Another idea they are using in their media campaign: maybe you could park your car on the bottom of a canal? The bus company is using an invented diving company called Cardive, which has divers that offer to dump your car in the canal. The divers walk around in cities and hand out free bus tickets and maps of the bus network.

To reach car drivers who are not using public transport, the media campaign has several radio commercials that present other solutions to the car parking problem. You could use “asphalt-spray” to camouflage your car, making it invisible for policemen (although you then need to remember where you’ve parked). Or you could use the “flat tire kit”, which comes with a fake flat tire and an inflatable dummy, so it looks like you’re replacing your flat tire. The final idea the bus company has is to use a View-Master to fool parking guards into believing that your car has been stationed correctly.

A survey among 4000 customers of De Lijn shows that two out of three car owners who use public transport, do so to avoid parking space troubles, and in cities this percentage rises to 90%. The survey further shows that 39% use the bus to go shopping.

During the month of May, the auto-bus and the divers tour several cities in Flanders (Leuven, Hasselt, Ghent, Bruges and Antwerp).

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