Brampton Transit spent a lot of time and effort on branding the new BRT system. The agency hired a firm to develop the name for the service, which was a lengthy process. Connor says they started out with 160 different names before narrowing it down to Züm. "Züm was chosen because the thought was they wanted a contemporary European feel to the service to really attract people to see that it's new," she says.
The branding didn't stop with the unique name, however.
"The buses themselves we took a lot of time to decide on colors. Both the inside and the outside are branded. We've gotten comments from all over on the look. They're really noticeable on the street and everywhere we go with the vehicles we get comments," Connor says. "We were able to do some things at a really reasonable cost that really make the buses stand out. In the interior we've got seats that have more padding than our conventional buses with higher backs, the seat materials themselves are cloth and they have a pattern on them but we actually have the brand name, Züm, embroidered on the seat. The walls in the back of the bus are carpeted in light gray. Everything coordinates well in the interior.
"A lot of our marketing, what we were marketing to our customers, is what we call the three Cs: control, comfort and convenience. Comfort on the bus, comfort in the stations while you're waiting, the real-time information so you know exactly when your bus is coming, the real-time on your personal device so if there's a delay on your route you get that information automatically on your device, and when you get to the station you can type in the number of the station and it will tell you when the next bus is there. There's a lot of technology that we've introduced and it really seems to be paying off. The stations as well are branded to match the buses. We've used a lot of red in our branding. The stations have the real-time information, benches, they are quite large. The ones that are fairly busy there is plenty of shelter for the people waiting."
Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority HealthLine
For years the city of Cleveland debated how to best connect two major employment areas along Euclid Avenue. In the late 1990s, the term bus rapid transit began gaining familiarity and understanding. All it took was a trade mission trip to Curibta, Brazil, by former Ohio Gov. George Voinovich. After seeing the BRT system in Curibta he "called back to his colleagues in Northeast Ohio and said this might be the solution for Euclid Avenue. That was the genesis of the project," says Joseph Calabrese, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority CEO.
GCRT went through the Federal New Starts process to obtain funding and the full funding grant was signed in 2004 and construction started shortly there after. "The system was opened in October 2008 on time and on budget," Calabrese says.
The total project is 9.4 miles on three different streets. The main BRT corridor on Euclide Avenue, Cleveland's "Main Street," is about 7.5 miles. There are 64 stations along the corridor and 21 rapid transit vehicles, which GCRT refers to as RTVs, were purchased for the project. "The goal was to reduce travel time from what was 48 minutes on the No. 6 bus line to what we modeled as 28 minutes on the BRT system," Calabrese says. "One of our goals was to increase ridership. The civic goal, the community goal and the business goal was to encourage economic development and investment along the corridor. Last we stopped counting, investments have totaled more than $4 billion since we broke ground. Ridership is up more than 50 percent."
Ridership is far exceeding estimates and Calabrese says that the whole project has exceeded all expectations – ridership, economic development, effect on community, etc.
Through the majority of the Euclid Avenue Corridor the HealthLine runs on exclusive transit lanes in the median. "We designed the system as one would design a light rail system, with possibly the only exception being the vehicles are being run on rubber tires instead of the rail," Calabrese says.