Most Port Authority passengers have noticed the decorative signage on its buses including the one that reads “ZIGGIN ZAGGIN ZIGGIN” and barely given it a second thought. But when Tracey Jennings looked at it in her rearview mirror the other day, she realized that from inside the bus, backwards, it reads “NIGGIZ NIGGAZ NIGGIZ.”
More than half of the authority’s ridership is Black.
She relayed her dismay on Facebook:
“REALLY PORT AUTHORITY! On my way into work I see this on the side of the bus… It says ‘ZIGGIN ZAGGIN ZIGGIN’, from the outside..Take a minute and soak that in.. If you are sitting on the bus and looking out the window, what you will read is ‘NIGGIZ NIGGAZ NIGGIZ!!’
I never noticed this until this morning.. So how long have NIGGAZ been on the bus???”
Spokesman Jim Ritchie said NIGGAZ has been there since 2003, but it should be gone within two weeks.
“Port Authority certainly did not intend for this message to offend anyone. The design has appeared on these buses since 2003,” he told the Courier. “However, due to recent complaints about how this message appears when read backward, we have decided to remove the message from our vehicles. This will take us several days to properly remove. We apologize to anyone who may have been offended.”
Like most people, Jennings said she hadn’t paid attention to it until the other day.
“I just so happened to be stopped at a red light next to one and saw it,” she wrote.”Whose brilliant campaign was this?”
Ritchie said the offensive message is on a total of nine buses and was part of a promotional campaign that included five other messages: “All Around Up and Down,” “Here and There,” Movin and Shakin,” “Movin and Groovin” and “Rockin and Rollin.”
He said the windows will have to be removed from the buses to scrape the pain from the glass, but simply removing the paint from the metal would leave a discolored–and still readable–remnant, so they will likely have to be repainted.
(More in next week’s edition.)