The MBTA is hoping the launch of an online store featuring T memorabilia and products with T maps and logos will generate royalties in the six-figures for the transit system in the next 12 to 18 months.
MBTA General Manager Richard Davey was in Cambridge Wednesday morning to mark the official grand opening of the T online store, www.mbtagifts.com/shop.php, which will feature everything from T shirts and coffee mugs featuring MBTA maps, to T stuffed bears, T ties and hats.
Davey said the sale of similar products and memorabilia have earned millions of dollars for transit systems in London and New York.
“I think that would be overly ambitious in the first year,” he said. “If we get to the six figures in the first 12 to 18 months I would be pleased with that.”
All of the money that the T makes from the sale of the products will go back into the transit system, Davey said.
Brothers Steven and Brian Beaucher, who own the Ward Maps store at 1735 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge, have contracted to design market and sell the items online and in their store. They will also distribute items wholesale to other stores and will operate the online store at no cost to the MBTA. Royalties from the sales go to the T.
The online store already has about 100 items for sale, including Green Line trolley Christmas Tree ornaments and designer T bags that cost $34.95.
“Next month, next week, next year, we want to keep the website fresh and always have new products out,” Steven Beaucher said.
The brothers are collecting T product ideas from designers and local artists, and are hoping the items will be big sellers to tourists and residents.
Items such as T magnets that copy signs for T stations, have been on sale in the Beauchers' store since December, and Brian Beaucher said the response from customers has been very positive.
Prices start at $3 for some gift items, but the most expensive item on sale now is this $2,500 old T sign from either the Dudley or Ashmont stop that came down during a renovation, said Brian Beaucher. Other old signs for specific MBTA stations range from $250 to $600.
Davey said the MBTA’s advertising revenue has been improving in the past 6 to 10 months, and the online store is another way to increase revenue without increasing fares.
“This really is something that we’re very excited about,” he said, before buying an old MBTA map at the Beaucher’s store.