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An Alternative To Selling Naming Rights Of TTC Stations & Subway Lines

April 5, 2011 5 comments

Wilson Station's Subway Platform

In the news recently has been talk of the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) contemplating the sale of station & subway line naming rights to advertisers (see Torontoist’s article here). After that, Torontoist also came out with a joking new subway map which used all sorts of corporate and company names as part of the subway station names (see it here and here). A lot of people, as you can tell by those articles have ridiculed the idea of marring the naming of Toronto’s ‘beloved’ (OK, fine, ‘much maligned’ is more accurate) TTC system with names of companies instead of the names of stations or lines. However, as I have previously said they do need to do something to revamp the naming of stations and lines – I am not advocating for or against corporate sponsorship here – to make it easier to navigate in general.

TTC, City of Toronto, here is my idea – instead of selling the naming rights how about we start allowing advertisers to put signs in special places on subway platforms and near exits of stations letting people know what is outside and where…just like on the exits of highways! In case you don’t know what I mean I have included a picture I pulled from Google Maps Street View of Exit 320 of Highway 401 and posted it on the left. The sign tells me that at this stop there are places I can purchase food in this case the sign lists a Harvey’s, a Kelsey’s, a Starbucks, a Wendy’s and some place called Fifth Wheel Truck Stop if I turn left off the ramp and a Tim Hortons if I go right. Of course, what this sign doesn’t tell me (I assume because they aren’t paying for it) is that there is a McDonald’s closer to the highway (not by much but still) than the Harvey’s & Swiss Chalet and in the same plaza as those two there is also a Subway Restaurant. There are other versions of this sign which also tell me where they hotels/motels are at exits, where the gas stations are at exits and which exits have the interesting sights to see as well as where they are. These signs also exist (without the direction arrows) as you near the exit so you know to get over to the exit lane on the right and begin to salivate for the food, or check you gas gauge to see if you need to top up. Let’s tell advertisers that they we are putting something akin to those signs in the TTC stations on the platforms and near the exits. I don’t doubt retailers would pay a pretty penny for people to know there is one of their locations just outside the subway station.

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