By Sean Tubbs

Charlottesville Tomorrow

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Charlottesville Transit Service (CTS)

has been renamed “Charlottesville Area Transit” as part of a rebranding strategy, despite the concerns of one City Councilor that a decision has not yet been made regarding the creation of a regional transit authority.

“Going ahead with the [re]-branding at this time seems [premature] when we don’t even know what the regional transit authority will look like,” said Councilor

Satyendra Huja


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On Monday, both Huja and Councilor

Holly Edwards

voted against the new name as well as a new logo and color scheme for buses. Councilor

Kristin Szakos

said she thought CTS should go ahead with the new brand because it may take a long time before the regional transit authority is formed, if at all.

The new logo

The existing CTS logo has been in use since the 1970’s. The rebranding effort was designed by Arizona-based

Transit Marketing

with input from city and county residents. The new logo was

presented to the MPO Policy Board in May 2009

. The brand used the slogan “Catch the CAT” to encourage ridership.

CTS Director Bill Watterson said the new color scheme has been updated in part to reflect the Council ‘s vision of a sustainable city.

“We want to convey that Charlottesville Transit Service is very environmentally-friendly and so we’ve got the blue sky and the green earth portrayed in our colors,” Watterson said. The black silhouette of a mountain lion will be featured prominently on each bus. The initial proposal before Council was simply to move ahead with the brand, and not the name. However,

Mayor Dave Norris

said he didn’t want to proceed with the brand unless the name changed as well.

Brown said the new name reflects the reality of an expanding bus system.

“It does go up U.S. 29, goes up Pantops, and we have ambitions of that continuing to expand,” Brown said.

Huja said he did not mind changing the name, but said the use of a black cat in the logo might send the wrong message about the transit system.

“It’s thoroughly depressing to me,” Huja said.

Albemarle County Supervisor

Dennis Rooker

, who sits on the

MPO Policy Board

, said he was surprised that Council adopted the new brand.

“When it was presented to the MPO, there wasn’t anyone on the MPO who seemed to like that logo,” Rooker said. “The people on the MPO generally felt the logo should be something that had more of a tie to the Charlottesville-Albemarle area as opposed to something that’s generic and can be used anywhere.”

Riders won’t see any changes on buses until June, when the transit service is expected to receive four new buses. Repainting existing vehicles could cost as much as $90,000, though Watterson said the number of buses that will be rebranded depends on how much grant funding can be secured.

A new CTS facility on Avon Street in Albemarle County will open in June with the new name and logo. Watterson said he hopes that his agency can begin replacing the more than 400 signs used to mark bus stops in July.


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