Milan seeks sponsors for metro

Milan city council is preparing to offer the city’s metro lines and stations for paid sponsorship, to help fill the city coffers, local press is reporting.
 
A heated debate is going on between councillors eager to follow the example of other European cities – including Rome – to raise urgently needed revenue, and those who oppose the idea of branding a line or a station with a commercial name, however prestigious it might be. The cooperation by a single Rome metro station with Vodafone is said to be worth €1 million per year, so the plan is tempting to a city like Milan with 100 stations and four metro lines.
 
Opposition councillor Riccardo De Corato intends to table a debate soon to reach a final decision, and call on Pierfrancesco Maran, chair of the city hall transport committee who made the original proposal, to answer queries.
 
Several monuments and public gardens around the city already carry the name of companies sponsoring their upkeep, so extending the concept, say supporters, is a logical step forward.  Alternatively, sponsorship might be connected with services for residents, suggested city council chair Basilio Rizzo, such as trading a month of exclusive sponsorship for free travel for pensioners, for example.
 
Should the plan go ahead, it will not be totally without limitations.  Sponsors will not be allowed who have a conflict of interest with the station or metro line, or who are involved in legal proceedings with the city administration.  Nor will any political, trade union or religious propaganda, or advertising of “doubtful morality” be allowed.  And clearly any messages including expressions of racism, hate or threats, or in any other way damaging for human dignity, will be banned.