Someone’s been busy with stickers.
In their contract, Metro had until Monday to rid the train system of any mention of Connex.
The Franchisee will apply stickers to cover all references to Connex, both internally and externally, on all Rolling Stock. These works will be undertaken at the various depots and sidings where the Trains are stabled at night, while the Trains would not otherwise be in use.
In conjunction with the Rolling Stock Debranding, the Franchisee will apply stickers over all references to Connex at all Stations, depots, yards and offices of the Franchisee. The Franchisee will also remove the Connex brand from all light-boxes and existing signage.
Target project completion date: 14 December 2009
— MR3 Train Franchise Agreement, volume 2, pages 294-295
The contract notes it includes 993 train carriages, 10,000 signs at 211 stations, 675 signs at 45 depots and yards, and 60 signs at 6 offices. Pretty big job.
They seem to have come pretty close — the only ones I saw around the place yesterday were some of those big station signs (some of them are probably quite awkward to cover up, particularly when they’d require road closures to get a scissor lift up there to do it), and posters such as timetables (which is odd, because they should be dead easy to do).
Of course, in some spots it looks a little tacky. Particularly amusing was the censoring of posters for Connex for Cancer Day, which raises money for Peter Mac.
The stickers on the outside of the trains don’t look too bad for a rush job. Metro logos on the front, and tag cloud-like train line names above the doors.
Over the coming months they’ll properly replace/modify the signs, and put the trains in their new colour scheme. There’s a handful already in the new colours. They’ve got until November 2010 for that, and the whole lot will cost about $25 million — I’m personally not convinced it looks brilliant.
And what about the Metro name and logo itself?
I like it. It’s a good, strong brand, much moreso than the Connex logo was.
Actually I think it’s better than the Metlink logo, with its round globby @-like thing.
The surveys I did here on my blog in the last couple of days (perhaps skewed by the readership here) showed that about 60% of people correctly identified the Metlink logo, which has been around since 2003. The Metro trains logo got a slightly higher level of recognition at 68%, despite having been around only since September. (Mind you, maybe the rate should have been higher, given the game was given away by the post just below the survey form.)
Metro is a name that is common worldwide and recognisable worldwide, though what we have doesn’t quite live up to the name — we need more frequent train services 7-days-a-week for that… something notable in its absence from the government’s “Creating a metro system” web page.
I’ll be interested to see if they start using the M on its own on signs, as you see with the London Underground roundel, and the new T logo used in Vancouver (potentially confusing I suspect).
And I wonder if businesses that are near stations will start advertising their addresses with a little M logo and the name of the station, as happens in some cities.
Of course, new logos and colour scheme are only superficial. It’s extra service, line extensions, and upgrades to make infrastructure and fleets reliable that will make the real difference.
PS. With a forecast top temperature of 39 degrees today, we may see the first real test of how Metro performs in extreme heat, and perhaps proof that things don’t magically change when you put new logos on everything.