Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bad ideas in transit finance

New York's MTA has not been able to get on the gravy train of corporate sponsorship. They have been trying to sell the naming rights to the subway station closest to Citi Field, the new home of the Mets. They don't have any takers, however. That's probably for the best since it is unlikely that the name of the stadium will remain Citi Field very long. Stadia tend to get renamed every few years through mergers, acquisitions or fraud. (Remember Enron Field?) That's fine for a stadium. If Citi is replaced there won't be any confusion about where the Mets play. For a subway stop, that's bad. If the station is replaced, or worse yet, if the name gets moved, there is a lot of potential confusion. System knowledge makes transit easier to navigate. Switching station names reduces this knowledge and will likely discourage some future transit trips. I know the MTA needs to raise money, and I'm all for selling advertising on trains and within stations, but the naming rights are a bad idea.
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