Saturday, June 26, 2010

Philadelphia selling transit station names; should Ottawa?

A while back, I talked about using increased business partnerships, in the form of transit station name-sponsorships, as a possible way of increasing revenue for OC Transpo. With US-based transit agencies facing difficult budget cuts, the cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are considering heading down that road, too.

Sports fan will soon be taking the subway to AT&T Station in order to see the Flyers, Eagles and Phillies.

SEPTA [Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority] is poised to sign a five-year agreement that would give AT&T the naming rights to the Pattison Ave. station on the Broad Street Line.

As part of the deal, SEPTA will change every reference to Pattison Station throughout the system and online.

The agreement was announced at a SEPTA Board committee hearing Thursday and will net SEPTA and Titan Outdoor LLC, which has a contract to manage advertising for the authority, more than $5 million. Of that, about two-thirds, or more than $3 million, will go to SEPTA. It’s part of ongoing efforts by SEPTA to raise revenue through non-traditional means.
In 2008 when the idea was entertained in Ottawa, there was a shortage of interest from potential sponsors (although it's unclear how much soliciting was done to attract them). It's difficult to say whether the potential windfall from such an arrangement would offset how annoying it would be to go to 'Rogers Station' instead of 'Bayview Station', or whichever the case may be.

Would anyone object to privatizing station names, or should we embrace any opportunity to raise funds for public transit?


maplestar said...

From the point of view of somebody who lived just outside the city who used OC Transpo a lot, I would be opposed to "Rogers Station." If they can get anything to make it "Rogers Bayview Station," that's fine, but station names need to reflect geography so that people can know where they're going (and not worry too much about name changes as agreements are made and expire).

david said...

What an awful idea!

Imagine a tourist visiting Toronto, and trying to figure out how to take the subway from Union Station to High Park: "Get on at Viagra Station northbound, then change to the Coca Cola Line at Pampers Station, then take the train westbound to the Apple iPad stop. If you pass Bell Mobile, you've gone too far."

There's a very, very good reason that stations are named after streets or landmarks.

Roch said...

I agree with maple as changing the names to only the business name will require many to get readjusted with the name change not the mention the funny situation which can come out of this which david mentions. Best option would definitely be adding the name of the business in front such as "Rogers Bayview Station".

RTWAP said...

We're in a unique situation because our rapid transit stations aren't even built yet. Like the others, I would support adding sponsors names to the station name, but I would also try to tempt buyers by allowing them to have significant input in station architecture. If there is a Rogers Bayview station then make it look like the inside of an old TV or something. Google station could have touchscreen walls wired to the web for searching (with SafeSearch ON!).