Retro Chicago transit T-shirts and CTA-themed puzzles and shower curtains are just a few items the Chicago Transit Authority began selling today on its overhauled transit-themed online gift shop.
The new site, www.ctagifts.com, also begins a new CTA partnership with Image Exchange, Inc., a company which also runs the merchandise stores for the New York Transit Museum and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
Ctagifts.com replaces the agency’s Gift Express program, but still offers some stalwart items, such as cufflinks created from old CTA tokens and system map umbrellas. New items include retro shoulder bags and T-shirts, as well as books and posters.
“Customers who have a favorite line or route, rail enthusiasts and visitors searching for unique souvenirs will be able to personalize items for one-of-a-kind keepsakes,” CTA President Ron Huberman said in a release posted on the agency’s Web site.
While all train stops are available to create a custom-made item, the agency’s 153 bus routes are not yet represented on the site.
CTA spokeswoman Catherine A, Hosinki says the authority will be paid royalties based on a percentage of sales at www.ctagifts.com. During the first year of operation, the CTA is expected to receive a minimum of 10 percent of all sales, and in subsequent years will receive a minimum of 12 percent of all sales.
"We do not have a sales prediction," Hosinski said in an e-mail to the Chi-Town Daily News.
Amy Lee is a Chicago-based journalist. She covers transit issues for the Daily News.