Don’t Expect to See Corporate Names on MBTA Stations and Signs

At least, not any time soon.

Photo by Alex Lau

Photo by Alex Lau

Your next stop on the MBTA won’t be at TD Bank North Station—at least for now.

After the transit agency put out a Request For Proposals (RFPs) in December and gave companies a chance to submit bids for the “Corporate Sponsorship Program,” which would have allowed them to rename T stations and stops, only one company showed a vested interest, and their application was denied.

According to MBTA Spokesman Joe Pesaturo, JetBlue wanted to pay money to add their logo and brand name to the entire Blue Line as part of the state-mandated naming rights program that the T rolled out, but their offer didn’t live up to the basic standards of the written guidelines, so the agency didn’t bite. “The MBTA received one offer in response to the formal Request For Proposals, but it will not be considered because it failed to meet the minimum bid requirement,” Pesaturo said in an email.

A firm expressed some interest in naming a Commuter Rail line, but their request was not part of the formal RFP process.

As Boston previously reported, the call for proposals allowed corporations to pick between nine stations along the system including Back Bay, Downtown Crossing, Park Street, North Station, State Street, Boylston, South Station, and Yawkey Way.

The asking price to add a moniker to each station started at $1 million per year, except for Yawkey Way, which started at $500,000. The contracts, if accepted during the bid process, would have lasted five years.

The “Corporate Sponsorship Program” also included an opportunity to have their name brandished on certain rapid transit lines. Companies could have renamed the Red, Green, or Blue Lines, the latter of which JetBlue was eyeing.

A partnership for renaming the transits lines would have meant corporations’ titles would have been printed on station maps and system signage. If a company opted for merely renaming a station, their name would have appeared beside the current station name, and would have been read aloud when trains arrived at the stop.

There was a lot of chatter about what it would have meant for passengers and tourists, in terms of confusion, if the T accepted bids from major companies. But since only one brand’s interest was piqued, and they were denied, those concerns have been temporarily derailed.

Pesaturo said while the RFP process is now complete—the deadline was Thursday, February 27—the Request for Expressions of Interest process remains open. “MBTA staff welcomes letters from any parties interested in participating in the Corporate Sponsorship Program,” he said.

The T is also actively looking for corporations and businesses to hop on the “Late Night Sponsorship Program” train to help fund and promote the new late-night T service, which will begin in March. Companies can choose between six different packages, ranging from $25,000 to $500,000, to help offset the costs to operate the T after midnight.

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