The city’s bus system is getting a new color scheme, as well as a new name, all in the interest of “branding.”
It’s in good company: the Raleigh, Cary, Chapel Hill and Triangle Transit buses are getting the same treatment, starting late this fall. It seems their current diversity just doesn’t convey the right image, so they’re getting a new one that all can share.
“Our goal is to really create a new brand,” city Transportation Director Mark Ahrendsen told the City Council last week. “It should convey a modern, progressive, innovative feeling.”
The new name: “Go.”
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Each system does, though, maintain a local identity. Instead of “DATA,” Durham buses will be sporting “GO Durham” on their sides. Instead of Cary’s current “CTran,” it’s “GO Cary.” Instead of “Triangle Transit,” it’s GO Triangle. And so on and so forth.
Each system also gets its own colors – Durham’s are blue, purple and silver – but all systems’ buses are to be painted according to the same pattern made up of adjoining triangles.
This new brand is supposed to demonstrate the five systems’ interconnection and collaboration, such as their shared call center, joint marketing and collective purchasing, he said.
“There’s a lot of inter-cooperation and -coordination among the transit systems, but looking at our buses one wouldn’t know that,” Ahrendsen said. Presenting the world with a unified appearance would eliminate confusion that may exist for patrons, and look good to companies thinking of locating the the area.
Arriving at GO wasn’t easy. The brand, according to Ahrendsen’s memo to City Manager Tom Bonfield, is the result of an 18-month research and deliberation process that involved surveys, case studies, designing and consultants and cost $140,000 – $80,000 from the state DOT and the rest split among the five systems.
Phasing in the new looks won’t happen overnight, Ahrendsen said. In the interest of economy, new stationary, fliers, uniforms and so on will be ordered as those currently on hand run out or are worn out. Hopes are to have all five systems signed on in time for a November “media event” to unveil one bus each painted in the new color schemes at a cost of $8,000 each.
City Councilman Steve Schewel thought that price was a little high. Ahrendsen assured him it will come down as buses are repainted in volume.
Durham became the second bus system to adopt the new look last week, following Triangle Transit. It is conceivable, said Damian Graham of Triangle Transit – that is, GO Triangle – that one or more jurisdictions may opt out. The hope is that, as Raleigh, Cary and Chapel Hill see the neighbors’ new identities they’ll want to get on the bandwagon.
“We wanted to continue to be a leader,” Ahrendsen said.
Those new names will, by the way, also become the official names of their systems, Graham said: for example, no more “Chapel Hill Transit,” just “GO Chapel Hill.” Assuming Chapel Hill goes along.
“It’ll take a while to work through the Chapel Hill process,” Ahrendsen said.