TransLink merch store features $90 shower curtains, retro SeaBus posters
TransLink says it hopes to tap into a sense of nostalgia among its customers with a new online merchandise store offering everything from transit-themed pencil cases to beach towels.
“Ultimately, the goal with the design is to allow people to sort of show some pride in the transportation system in their region,” spokesperson Jill Drews told CTV News Tuesday.
“It’s sort of part of everybody’s life that way. It’s an iconic thing and we looked for those icons to be able to put on the products that we designed.”
Products start at $3.75 for transit-themed pencils. The most expensive item on the website, which launched Tuesday, is a shower curtain with a map of the TransLink system printed on it which sells for $90.
The store also offers $12 mugs, $26 water bottles and $27 T-shirts. TransLink-themed pillows sell for $59 while posters and iPhone cases cost $15 and $22 respectively.
Fans of TransLink vehicles can purchase scale models of a SkyTrain or SeaBus.
According to Drews, the company producing and selling the merch might add more products to the website later.
"The plan is to start with this, see how it goes and refresh products and add new products as we go along," she said. "If anyone has any suggestions for things they think might sell or they'd like to see…we'd like to see those as well."
She says the transportation authority is offering the merchandise though a third party at little risk or cost to TransLink itself.
Drews says the online store isn't intended as a major source of revenue, but any profit the company does make will be put back into the transit system.
Some TransLink customers, however, see the merchandise as a distraction for the problems the transit system is facing.
"What's this supposed to do? Bribe me to ride the transit?" said one man. "Give me good service. That's all we want. That's all anybody wants."
Drews, however, said the store is a direct response to demand from customers themselves.
“The inspiration for this really came from customers who have gone to other places like Toronto, like London (and) New York and they’ve seen these products available there and they’ve asked us why we don’t have them here,” Drews said.
The Toronto Transit Commission site launched in 2014 selling reproductions of decades-old TTC posters through the same vendor Translink is using . Later that year, the TTC added other merchandise to the website, such as scale models, water bottles, cufflinks and a variety of clothing. Translink anticipates a similar expansion in offerings in the future.
“Ultimately, this program is about filling the need for the customer. They’ve asked us for it and we’re providing it,” Drews said.
This isn’t TransLink's first foray into the memorabilia market.
On June 22, it released a limited run of 20,000 Canada 150-themed Compass Cards that were embossed with a multi-coloured maple leaf.
The passes originally sold for $6 each. Less than a month later, however, they began turning up on Craigslist for as much as 10 times what they retailed for.
With files from CTV Vancouver’s Penny Daflos