Adopt a CTA station (or line or bus)?

MattBerggren's picture

The Chicago Transit Authorty (CTA) announced yesterday that it is looking to sell the naming rights for its train stations, train lines, bus stops, and bus lines. Or as the Chicago RedEye see it, the CTA is seeking "Sugar Daddies." The naming rights for pretty much anything associated with the CTA will be up for sale. The idea is to find new ways for the CTA to raise money without raising prices or cutting services any more than it already has in the past few years. The renaming of public amenities would not be unprecedented for Chicago. This city has a long history of public-private partnerships. We can see this most prominently in Millenium Park with AT&T Plaza, Chase Promenade, and the Jay Pritzker Pavillion.

However, I question how this system will work. If you purchase the naming rights for a station, will you also be responsible for upkeeping that station or remodeling it similar to how Apple has remodeled the North/Clybourn Station? Or will you simply get your name on it? My gut reaction is to resist allowing corporations to start renaming our stations. I might be a little more open to the idea if it means not only increased revenue for the CTA, but also an adopt-a-highway-like system where the corporate sponsor of each station would be in charge of maintaing and improving the station over time. But I cannot see myself ever supporting the renaming of the train lines. Having the lines named after colors works well so I'm glad the CTA is not throwing that idea out. But what the CTA is planning on doing, which is keeping the color alongside the name of the corporation that purchases the naming rights of the line (e.g. Orange Line / Microsoft Line), will just complicate the name of the lines and confuse people.

Station and line names could start changing as early as this upcoming spring. Only time will tell the impact this program will have on our transit system.


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