What if Septa stations could be branded?
Septa is one of those things that can still be a pain in the neck even on its best day. From its fare increases, to its delightfully indifferent employees, to its overall culture of mediocrity, Septa really needs every dime it can get. According to NBC10.com, “Septa will vote next week on the $5 million deal to rename the stadium station after the telecommunications company.” NBC is talking about AT&T expressing an interest in branding the Broad & Pattison stop (for the sports complexes… also the last stop) in South Philly. The first thing that came to mind, was that if this stop was successfully branded what’s in store for the others?
Is everything for sale? I’m positive that certain other stops have absolutely no redeeming value. I think Broad & Pattison would be the exception and never the rule. I mentioned in an earlier post about Philly’s Anti-Billboard Movement that some people are worried about our public spaces being sold commercially. There’s no way they could’ve seen this coming. It would be interesting to see how something like this could work out. Conventional wisdom suggests that public venues can be privately sponsored because they require so much investment and upkeep. Is this just the next step in a natural progression? AT&T spokesman Adam Cormier cites that, “AT&T is the only cell phone company that has service on the subway between the Broad Street and Market-Frankford lines.”
When I was a kid in high school we used to laugh and joke about people who would “talk” on cellphones at subway/el stops. “Everybody knew” that nobody got reception underground so they were either trying to look important or to show off a new phone. It’s crazy how things change. That’s a dynamite position if AT&T were to claim it. I see people talking via phones on the subway/el now and I think to myself, “Did I miss something?” I do not get any service on my phone underground (Verizon). I haven’t been to a sporting event in South Philly in about 13 years, but I still welcome the change if it’ll help fix Septa’s general pitfalls.
I think that the fact that stations are currently named after their first / last stops on the line are what helps many passengers understand the public transportation (SEPTA)’s routes (and facilitates use overall). I believe changing the station names to AT&T etc., would be profitable perhaps in one aspect but may confuse passengers and lead some to look for alternate modes of transportation.
Philly is so xenophobic I don’t the locals would have an issue with confusing out-of-towners. What everybody hates about Septa is the monopoly. The best alternative would simply be a cab, bike, or a rental. Some stops do have themes, but they are linked to any particular brand.
-Edit- Ahem “I don’t think the locals would have an issue…”
Today I actually found a stop that is branded. I’m not sure how official it is, but I don’t see how it would be possible otherwise. The Spring Garden EL stop is covered with “Pabst Blue Label” graphics. These aren’t wraps or posters, the columns (among other places) appeared to be hand painted. The Google search shows this as a description…
“Submit your original Pabst-inspired art. Make art and win free beer.”
It would make sense…