CTA's new line a real put-on


By Gilbert Jimenez

Date of Publication: October 8, 1999
Source: Chicago Sun-Times


Put back those bus seats and L fare card machines. The CTA has a better idea for you souvenir hunters--a whole line of gifts and memorabilia featuring the transit agency's slogans, maps and symbols.

The merchandise includes everything from commuter mugs and silk scarves to neckties and goofy sunglasses.

CTA President Frank Kruesi called the move a chance for the agency and its riders to have a ton of "quirky funness."

"For a long time, people have said the CTA ought to have this," Kruesi said.

However, the merchandise isn't aimed at returning great profits but rather to encourage public awareness, support and sense of connection to the agency.

The idea grew from the surprising popularity of the CTA posters and other collectibles snapped up by tourists and riders during the Loop L's centennial celebration a few years ago.

Now the posters have given way to fare card and ID holders, mouse pads, tote bags, caps naming the CTA's various rail lines and key chains, money clips and cuff links made from recycled tokens. Silk ties and scarves--both bearing a CTA route map--also are for sale.

The merchandise is available at the gift shops in the Chicago Cultural Center, the Four Seasons and the Ritz-Carlton hotels. Brochures and items from the collection are available by calling the CTA at (312) 664-7200, ext. 3066. They also can be seen on the CTA's Web site: www.transitchicago.com.

In addition, CTA officials said they hope to have sets of electric "O" gauge train cars in time for the holidays.