[IMAGE]Omaha-Transit-Buses-full-2.jpg[/IMAGE]Omaha, Neb.-based Metro Area Transit (MAT) will now go by “Metro” and has changed its corporate look to show significant changes are afoot with the area’s transit authority. In addition, the agency purchased 24 new replacement buses for the Metro fleet, fully funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus effort.
“We put forth this outward, visual projection of what’s happening here internally as a
highly visible commitment to the public. We are asking them to think differently about public transportation; this new image shows we are, too,” says Curt Simon, executive director for Metro.
The redesign of the corporate logo, to be a dynamic, outlined blue “M,” was the work of
Oxide Design Co. of Omaha. Conversations between Metroʼs leaders and Oxide led to focus on a new identity that conveyed key words and impressions such as safe, clean dependable/consistent, convenient, and modern/progressive.
The “re-brand” was deemed necessary by Metroʼs leaders because the MAT brand appeared to be outdated. Rather than reflecting an organization current with trends and transportation responsibilities, it implied an establishment entrenched in its old ways. The fresh logo communicates the truth: an organization that is modern and looking to the future.
The new name was recommended to not only signify to the public that something
significant is transpiring at Metro, but that Omahaʼs public transit system is one part of a larger, nationwide whole. It is key for resident and area users to feel Metro is similar to trusted and esteemed systems of similarly-sized or larger cities.
The cost for the 24 replacement buses purchase totaled $7,816,427. Stimulus monies were awarded at 100 percent, meaning no local matching funds — local monies or tax dollars — were required to purchase the vehicles. Typically the local match on federal grants for vehicle replacement is 17 percent. Visible changes are mainly aesthetic in nature with the new logo, striping and graphics, and will have the latest in seating comfort and interior color schemes.
These replace 24 high floor Metro buses with low floor configurations — manufactured by Gillig — making boarding and disembarking the buses much easier for passengers and are a particularly beneficial to customers using wheelchairs.
This new visual direction for Metro really speaks of a systemic change in approach to
customer service and perception. In addition to the shift in corporate identity, the transit system has overhauled its website. The address has changed to www.ometro.com, and the look, feel and approach to sharing information is strikingly different.
Another shift can be seen in Metroʼs attention to education. Its “Pass to Class” program has transitioned from a pilot program in October 2009 to a continuing joint effort between Metropolitan Community College (MCC) and Metro. MCC distributes bus passes to any student currently enrolled at any of their campuses; since inception, MCC students have tallied over 133,000 trips on Metro.
Also, attention is given to enhancing bus routes. Late last spring, Metro revised and
extended service on two routes to provide true cross-town service without requiring a transfer. Additionally, three revised neighborhood circulator routes were initiated at the same time due to public interest and need. Expect also in the near future Wi-Fi at all transit centers.