West Midlands Mayor Andy Street wants ‘one transport brand’ to be in place by the time the Commonwealth Games comes to the region in 2022, in a move he says will help increase the use of public transport.
Having revealed one of the region’s new blue trams in Birmingham earlier this month, the Mayor now says trains, bikes and buses will also be given their own colour.
And under the scheme all forms of public transport will be branded under a new hexagonal logo.
The cost of the initial design work was £60,000, with each tram costing around £9,000 to paint blue.
Mr Street said he wanted to ‘create an identity that will last for decades’ in the same way that London had – and insisted the cost was a ‘small’ but worthwhile investment.
“So the really big question is why are we doing it? And the key thing in response to that is that this is the start,” the Mayor said.
“So it’s not all going to happen over night suddenly, but it’s actually the moment in time where we say ‘we are steadily going to bring all of this together as one transport brand’.
“And the brand is synonymous with the one network, so it’s a way of thinking that all this lot fits together.
“So if you’re a customer you’ll think ‘my different options for transport in the Midlands are; West Midlands rail; West Midlands Metro; West Midlands bus and, we hope, West Midlands cycle.’
“And you never know what else, as technology moves on in the future. So you’re thinking about all of the options you’ve got and using them together.
“And the evidence from around the world is that if you do that, then you get increased usage of public transport, where people can identify the network.”
He said while the cost may seem significant at the moment, it’s a small investment toward building a brand that will be synonymous with transport in the region.
“The initial branding work is a very important stage,” he said.
“If you think of London and its famous symbol, it’s iconic, and I want the West Midlands hexagon to have the same recognition as that. That’s how we know when we’ve made it.
“When people see that, we want them to know what it means. Because it’s not just about it being on the vehicle.
“Whether they see it on their phone when they’re checking transport info, when they see it when they’re checking the timetables etcetera.
“It was important that we got that right.”
Councillor Roger Lawrence, leader of City of Wolverhampton Council and WMCA portfolio holder for transport, said: “We are building an integrated transport system that will plug into HS2 and which is critical in unlocking the economic benefits for the region.
“Making our transport system look and feel like a world class experience starts with giving it a unique identity that builds trust and confidence.
“The scale of public transport infrastructure investment now underway in the region gives us the perfect opportunity to rebrand and deliver services that meet the needs of residents, businesses and visitors.
“Doing so supports the economic growth prospects in the region, thus enabling a positive change in the lives of millions of people.”
Costs for the rebranding of trains will be met by the train companies themselves. Other agreements are yet to be reached, although bosses say much of the costs will be covered through existing schemes and contracts.