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Rules Schmules: DART Still Looking to Sell the Naming Rights to its Stations

A while back, DART was toying with the idea for a while of auctioning off naming rights to some of its stations to the highest bidder. Such measures have proved to be relatively painless ways to generate cash for some transit systems in places like Philadelphia, and DART estimated it could bring in an extra $1 to $2 million over five years, a proposition that was particularly attractive in lean economic times.

That was until then-General Counsel Hyattye O. Simmons told the board last year that, while it seemed like a swell idea, DART's policy "excludes the use of business names, product names, and personal names unless the name is also a street name or a well-known destination." So renaming the Pearl Street Station for the Arts District earlier this year was okay. Naming, say, the West End Station for Camel Snus, is not.

But DART has not let the idea go.

"We're exploring the value of selling naming rights to some of our stations to generate revenue," DART spokesman Morgan Lyons told me by email yesterday. The board's revenue committee is getting an update today on a station naming sponsorship project.

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As for what stations are being considered for corporate sponsorship and how much money the proposal expected to bring in, Lyons wasn't sure. "That's why we're doing the study," he wrote. It's unclear whether the renaming policy still stands; I'm looking into that.

The changes could be coming very soon. According the the committee agenda, vendor selection begins in October.

Update at 10:36 a.m: The renaming policy's still in place. "We'll look at the needed policy revisions as part of the financial feasibility study," Lyons said.

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