Two weeks after the story first broke, SEPTA officially announced the name change of Market East Station to Jefferson Station — after Thomas Jefferson University Hospital – Thursday.
SEPTA riders will see the new name on signs and maps starting Friday and hear something new as they roll up to 10th and Market, said Joe Casey, SEPTA general manager. “Of course, our regional conductors at Temple and Suburban Station will yell, ‘Next stop, Jefferson station,'” he said.
Jefferson paid SEPTA $3.9 million for the five-year deal, with the option to renew for two years two times after that, for a total of nine years.
A signature station will give the hospital more visibility with both new and existing consumers, said Chuck Lewis, Jefferson executive vice president.
“Looking at the complaints we’ve had over the years of the difficulty of finding Jefferson, this was our way of making it accessible,” he said. “If you look at it per impression, we actually think SEPTA’s the best deal in town.”
Health care as a lifestyle brand
“Just as everything else in your world has changed — travel, shopping — health care needs to get more to where the patient is, more to where the consumer is,” said Jefferson CEO Stephen Klasko.
The move marks a change in how the health care industry wants to woo consumers, he said, by integrating more with their daily lives.
“I look at it as creating a new model — we’re on par with Apple, [which said] ‘We’re going to get out of the computer industry and become a part of people’s lifestyles.’ This is really an access model for the community,” Klasko said.
That branding is a part of a rollout of new programs by Jefferson, including a shuttle from the station to the hospital. The shuttle does not yet have a start date.
This is the second commercially branded SEPTA station — AT&T paid $5 million to rename the Broad Street Line station near the sports complex in 2010.
SEPTA plans to use the funds to make improvements to the station, including a new fare system and more bathrooms, as well as regular operating costs.