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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Saturday, July 13

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Mike / July 15, 2005 6:36 AM

Eh, why not? It's not like I'm that attached to the color names. Which companies? Tootsie Roll, Tribune, Goose Island.

Gordon / July 15, 2005 6:43 AM

No. Fuck no.

And besides, even if they did, it'd go over about as well as with Comiskey Park. Or whatever they call it.

Thomas / July 15, 2005 7:31 AM

If they did sell naming rights to companies, couldn't the companies technically name the line whatever they want? We just might end up with the brown line being called the "Dookey Stick".

Jonsey / July 15, 2005 7:40 AM

Name and name? What's in a name? The CTA by any other name would still smell like pee.

Gordon - The proper name for the former Comiskey Park is Joan Cusack Field.

MC High Life / July 15, 2005 8:34 AM

Would a company that wins naming rights be responsible for updating signage as well? The CTA has nearly $16 million budgeted for signage this year. Unless the company picks up the entire tab for changing the signs, I say no. If they do pick up the tab, I guess I feel indifferent. I would just as soon see less ads rather than more but if it solves a budget crisis, it should be entertained.

amyc / July 15, 2005 8:49 AM

Hell no. Does everything have to be for sale to giant corporations?

MikeH / July 15, 2005 8:57 AM

How about the Immodium A-D Brown Line?

Robert / July 15, 2005 9:08 AM

At this point, does it really matter? The inside and outside of busses and trains are already covered in advertising. There's even ads in the tunnels now!

I think it would be hard for the CTA to find corporate sponsors without making upgrades to the system. What company wants to put their name on something that smells like pee?

Steve / July 15, 2005 9:29 AM

Yes, they should. But only to companies that already have the current color naming system in their names.

-- the Brown's Chicken Line
-- the Red Bull Line
-- the Tropicana Orange Line
-- the Jolly Green Giant Line
-- the Selsun Blue Line
-- the Oprah Winfrey Stars in The Color Purple line
-- the Yellow Book line

Hello / July 15, 2005 9:37 AM

>Hell no. Does everything have to be for sale to giant corporations?

Absolutely. Health care and pensions for CTA employees isn't free, you know.

Chigo / July 15, 2005 9:38 AM

>Hell no. Does everything have to be for sale to giant corporations?

Absolutely. Health care and pensions for CTA employees isn't free, you know.

Steve / July 15, 2005 9:41 AM

Apologies to the fine folks at the CTA Tattler, who I just found out made pretty much the same joke I did but beat me to it by a full day....

NotSoHealthy / July 15, 2005 9:50 AM

This is the dumbest idea I have heard in a long time. I could just imagine the newsheadlines in 2007 "A young woman was raped last night as she was leaving the station on the Bank One Line last night"

jen / July 15, 2005 9:59 AM

well, not only would getting used to new names suck, but how long would new names stay for? would they be year leases? 5?

so, in 2006, you're riding the Ted (or United, or whatever) line, but maybe in 2008 it's the McDonald's line, etc.

nathan / July 15, 2005 10:28 AM

If this were to happen, I would throw myself in front of the American Airlines Line. Sorry about your commute time folks.

Pzulu / July 15, 2005 10:34 AM

If the CTA board really thinks one way to shore up the budget is selling naming rights, fine. But the companies should be selected based on their compatability with the current color scheme.

Here's the rainbow I envision:

--IBM's Big Blue Line.
--The Red Bull Line.
--Tropicana Orange Juice Line.
--Northwestern's Go Purple Line.
--General Mills' Green Giant Line.

And maybe to keep things interesting and promote Skokie as a trying-to-be-hip tourist destination, the CTA could court a rock band:

--The Cold Play Yellow Line.

Finally, just so no one would forget that the CTA still runs the show (c'mon, don't laugh, they're trying really, really hard), one line would have to be named for somone important:

--The Frank Kruesi Is Full of It Brown Line.

jk1 / July 15, 2005 10:38 AM

It's a woefully stupid idea by a woefully stupid consulting company hired by the woefully stupid political hacks at the CTA...

Like the current color names or not, they are functional and consistent. Changing them would cause untold confusion amongst riders, especially those who don't ride regularly. Plus, as others have noted, who will pay for changing signs, maps, etc?

This will never happen on an official level. Maybe they will do some kind of adopt-a-station program where a company could fund station improvements and maintenence in exchange for some kind of discrete branding. However, you will not see Belmont become the 'McDonalds' station for official purposes (on signs and maps) and you will definitely not have the 'Motorola' line or the 'Vienna Hot Dog' line or whatever.

The idea that the CTA paid a company 1.3 million, and this was one of the genius concepts they touted in their report is what should REALLY be getting the press...

e_five / July 15, 2005 11:02 AM

Is there anywhere we can go anymore where corporate sponsorship doesn't take our rectal temperature? Millennium Park is an example... I think the cement is sponsored. It's enough to make you want to puke into the Waste Management Trash Cans™.

Pzulu / July 15, 2005 11:04 AM

Oops. I didn't see Steve's sponsorship suggestions until after my post (and he came up some names that CTA Tattler already had). Sorry for the repetition, but I guess it's simply more proof that mediocre minds think alike.

Stephen / July 15, 2005 11:35 AM

Branding and advertising is everywhere so I don't see why the CTA shouldn't get a piece.

"Does everything have to be for sale to giant corporations?" amyc asked above... nobody said this was restricted to giant corporations (though they clearly have more of a budget to actually do it). But why not a Greenpeace Line?

And as Robert pointed out above, our transit system is already plastered inside and out with advertising. This is not a new or novel concept.

Anyway, I wanna ride the Coke Line. *sniff*

Zach / July 15, 2005 11:57 AM


bensch / July 15, 2005 12:03 PM

Vienna Beef all the way.

"How'd you get here?"

"I rode the Wiener down."

joshua / July 15, 2005 12:04 PM

didn't chicago try this a few years ago with the "bank one" chicago bears? that lasted a few weeks before it got dropped. same thing happened when Spiderman 2 wanted to brand the bases in Fenway for pre-release awareness and there was a huge uproar and it didn't happen. the public response will dictate behavior. even if the names change, people won't refer to the lines differently.

it's like the old joke, the english are starting to drive on the right side of the road; the move will be made gradually.

ivy / July 15, 2005 12:11 PM

I think the whole "we could give the el stations corporate names" thing was a ploy by the CTA to generate water cooler conversation and to keep their budget in the news.

I mean, this story is too Red Eye-ready!

Anyway, I don't know if corporations would care to buy into it in the first place. It would be different if it was a new route or city-wide system, like having a corporation sponsor a brand new O'Hare express line, but I don't think the existing lines are appealing for something like this.

David Demaree / July 15, 2005 1:07 PM

I think it's a horrible idea, but my allegiance to all things horrible and postmodern demands that I say yes, the CTA should totally sell out to (more) corporate interests while saddling the system with enough extra administrative costs (they'll need at least another hundred patronage jobs to run the sponsorship program) to cripple it for good:

The UPS Brown Line: What can brown do for you? Not keep stations open during construction, not get you to work on time...

The RedEye Line: Think of it this way: now you'll have even more time to finish today's sudoku puzzle!

The GlaxoWellcome Not Gonna Be Blue Line: Depressed about your long commute? Here, have some Prozac™.

Cingular Wireless Orange Line: With more bars than the competition, you will most likely finish seven or eight phone calls without being dropped _or_ reaching your stop.

Starbucks Green Apron Line: Hope you don't _need_ that health coverage, barista boy. Get a real job you can drive to.

Northwestern University Shuttle (formerly the Purple Line): Like anyone in Evanston uses transit anyway.

Yellow Line: We have a Yellow Line? To Skokie? You're shitting me!

Stosh / July 15, 2005 2:55 PM


How else will the CTA pay for healthcare and pensions for its employees?

Remember, bus drivers and station attendents will still have to be paid for 20+ years after they retire.

Emerson Dameron / July 15, 2005 2:57 PM

More likely, we'll start to see attractive women on the platforms who just won't shut up about the Axe Effect.

christy / July 15, 2005 3:55 PM

The CTA is focusing on all the wrong things. They should try running a good business, ie., adhering to the train schedules, not allowing 3-bus caravans and instead regularly spacing buses, providing next train arrival times on their spiffy LED signs that now simply display the date, correctly announcing stops on the buses, hiring a cleaning crew for the stations. If the CTA would provide a clean, well-run, valuable service, they might have more riders and more public pressure for government funding. It is a valuable service, but it's poorly run. The names themselves are less the issue than what it means that public transportation might be owned in part by commercial corporations. No one is talking about calling I-90 "Glaxo-Wellcome Way". There are plenty of federal funds maintaining the highways. Why isn't public transportation a higher priority? The answer may be complex, but making it so is definitely achievable. And I wish it would start moving in that direction.

carl / July 15, 2005 4:05 PM

So you want a better run cta eh? Why not ask for it? The nations transportation bill has been stalled since about the time the Bush Administration took office. email your congressman at
and tell him/her to get the transportation bill passed!

Josh / July 15, 2005 9:20 PM

I would rather just see the CTA get privatized. IMO, The CTA is run by idiots.

Brandy / July 16, 2005 12:56 AM


amyc / July 16, 2005 8:19 AM

Josh, how on earth will privatization fix the CTA? Privatization relies, in large part, on the idea that competition will bring improvements. But that doesn't really work with public services. Say the Blue Line gets purchased by a great company that improves everything, but the Red Line gets bought up by some Enron-style conglomerate that spends a lot of money at first, but then goes belly-up due to corruption. Red Line riders can't just switch to the Blue Line to get to work, unless everyone in Lakeview decides to move to the West Side.

Of course, you're right that the CTA is run by idiots. But privatizing it is no guarantee that it won't still be run by idiots.

Alice / July 16, 2005 8:39 AM

If the CTA wants to save some money, they can fire that idiot consultant.

Josh / July 16, 2005 1:15 PM

If the CTA were to be privatized, there would always be the threat that it could go back into the city's hands and I think that would be enough competition to make any company work hard to do a better job than the city.

Imagine if the CTA were as well run as Metra. That would be nice.

steven / July 16, 2005 8:34 PM

This is as stupid an idea as I've ever heard. Why does everything these days need corporate sponsorship? I understand the need to make money, but come on. Hey, CTA, get your heads out of your asses.

Jeff / July 17, 2005 1:59 PM

Actually, I think they should sell naming rights to the stations themselves: Nordstrom's Grand Station, Aon's Argyle Station, etc.

Corporate, schmorporate. The CTA should do whatever it has to in order to keep the working class's transit cheap and useful. Let people wring their hands over corporatization over something else.

Andrew Huff / November 10, 2010 1:44 PM

This thread is now re-opened in light of the CTA finally offering naming rights. Throw in your new suggestions!

Claire / November 10, 2010 1:47 PM

Brown line - Kimball Thunder

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