Calgary Transit seeks municipal funding to re-brand BRT system

FILE: A Calgary Transit bus . Calgary Transit

Calgary’s bus rapid transit system is getting a new name: MAX.

Calgary Transit, already dealing with a revenue shortfall, is asking city council to spend $366,000 on a campaign to re-brand the BRT system.

Three of the four lines will start to run this fall, and another line will be up and running next year. There will be changes to more than 40 bus routes over three quadrants when the BRT is up and running.

“I am super excited because we are going to be launching our first, true bus rapid transit service that is as fast and as frequent in many was as train service,” Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi said.

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“We have seen that bus rapid transit systems work better when their visual identity, when the maps of the system, show them as rapid transit. And that psychological issue makes it much easier for riders to interact with the system and to use the system.”

The promotional campaign will include awareness for transit riders and people who live near the express bus routes and painting of the vehicles to distinguish them from the regular Calgary Transit buses.

“To help people understand that these three new lines are not just regular bus service, we’re going with this new branding. Yes, it’s a bit 90’s,” Nenshi admitted. “But as long as committee approves it, they’ll be called ‘MAX.’ And there’s another exciting second part to that, which you’ll find out about soon-ish.”

Nenshi said, despite the projected revenue shortfall for Calgary Transit, spending additional funds on the proposed BRT rebranding to MAX is worthwhile.

“Because we’ve spent all this money building these BRT lines, now we gotta get people to understand that this isn’t just a fast bus. That this is a new form of transit, it’s not the same as the BRT’s we’ve had in the past, and it’ll make life much more convenient and it’ll make transit a much better choice.”

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With files from Aurelio Perri.

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