Toronto Transit Commission Hopes to Raise Funds Through Merchandise
Whether it’s for a tourist looking to commemorate his or her trip or a Toronto native showing city pride, Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) memorabilia, including T-shirts, prints, pillows and more, is easy to find. However, the TTC doesn’t make any money from this merchandise, which TTC chair Josh Colle wants to change, according to Metro News Canada.
After a quick Google search, Colle saw all kinds of TTC-themed memorabilia available—none of which benefitted the commission through sales.
“There were pillows, beer, laptop cases, cards, buttons, shower curtains, cups, books, everything with our logo or our vehicles on it,” he told Metro News Canada. “It’s stunning how much of it is out there.”
Colle and the TTC hope to better license its brand. He said that a strong merchandising program could add necessary funds to the commission, which faces a projected $58 million shortfall next year.
Colle based this decision off of other major cities’ transit merchandising programs, namely New York and London. He recalled seeing whole sections of Toys R’ Us in New York City dedicated to the transit system. The New York Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) has its own licensing program, which encourages manufacturers to create and sell products that use the MTA intellectual property.
Spacing, a retail off-shoot of the magazine of the same name, sells an assortment of TTC-themed items. Matthew Blackett, publisher and creative director for Spacing, said that a licensing policy could be difficult to police and could only apply to TTC-copyrighted items. According to BlogTo, Spacing sells TTC-themed posters, buttons, guitar picks made from repurposed Metropasses and hats.
“The current regime has the right idea,” Blackett told Metro News Canada. “They’re not going to make a lot of money from licensing, so let anyone do what they’re doing as long as it doesn’t damage the brand.”
Blackett added that Spacing has sold approximately 500,000 TTC subway buttons, which he estimated would total $50,000 to TTC if the licensing program was in place.
Colle, however, is optimistic that the licensing program could be a financial boon for the commission.
“Whatever numbers come back will probably underestimate it,” he told Metro News Canada. “The TTC has traditionally not realized what it’s sitting on in terms of that value.”