As the Chicago Transit Authority struggles to deal with shrinking revenues, executives are coming up with creative ways to make money--which is why our bus and train stations might soon have very corporate names.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the CTA board asked for bids from firms that could help the agency find corporate sponsorships:
The deals could involve naming rights or other ideas, such as sponsorship of the CTA's planned bus rapid-transit route on the Jeffery corridor or the New Year's Eve "penny-a-ride" program.
The quest for bids comes after the CTA allowed Apple Inc. to refurbish the North/Clybourn Red Line stop--a $3.9 million deal that will eventually give Apple the naming-rights to the station. Apple recently opened a store nearby.
The future deals will not change the color designations of the rail lines, the Chicago Tribune reports:
That means potential corporate sponsors must agree to signage with a slash, such as the Blue Line/YOUR NAME HERE.
CTA President Richard Rodriguez said the move is an effort to raise money in creative ways--but the names won't be too creative. He said the agency would avoid granting naming-rights that are in poor taste.
From the Tribune:
So don't worry about seeing a Viagra Express or Miller Lite bus route on Rush Street.
"Providing 1.7 million rides every single day is a value to somebody someplace," Rodriguez said to the Tribune. "The question is, What's it worth?"
Chicagoist speculated about the future of our trains and buses:
Maybe sometime next year, we'll see the "Berlin Belmont "L" Station," "Macy's CTA Holiday Train," " 'Blue' Line by American Express" "Billy Dec's Rockit Ranch Red Line" and the "Xindy Oriental Massage Halsted Orange Line Station" coming our way..
What names are you expecting to see on future Chicago trains and buses?