T wants riders to speak up about selling naming rights

Park Street MBTA station.

The MBTA wants to hear more from the public about its decision to sell naming rights for subway stations to corporate sponsors.

To get feedback, the transit agency, will conduct focus groups before the fall when the transit authority will start seeking corporate sponsors to get more revenue for the financially challenged agency.

“You’ve got all the pros; you don’t have any cons,” said MBTA Board Chairman John Jenkins at a meeting Wednesday. “I’d like to hear some of what the people believe and I think you only get that through the focus groups”

The MBTA might consider sponsorship of wifi on the commuter rail, which MBTA Assistant General Manager for Real Estate Development Mark Boyle said would allow the transit agency to expand and upgrade the service, which is spotty on some trains.

“It’s so popular and so many people are on the system that it doesn’t have the capacity and it hasn’t been upgraded,” Boyle said.

Boyle also said that while corporate sponsorships might help pay for station maintenance and possibly landscaping, that work would be done by the MBTA.

“We would continue to do the cleaning but the revenue that we’re being paid… would be able to provide us an increase in maintenance… There’s an expectation on the part of folks that sponsor stations that the stations will be well maintained,” Boyle said.

Boyle had settled on sponsorship signs in a font identical to station names but Transportation Secretary Richard Davey suggested that might be confusing to people, and asked Boyle to present a wider range of options to focus groups.

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