Getting on the train the other night I and many others were presented with a survey asking for my thoughts on a number of different aspects of the train service and PT in general. This isn’t the first time I have done one of these and the majority of questions were pretty straight forward covering a number of different topics with things like how clean I thought the train, the friendliness of staff, train performance etc. Most of these questions are ones most likely asked annually and help go towards building up a picture of whether services have improved over time but there was one section that really caught my eye. The questions in this section were wanting to know about my thoughts on the MAXX brand and it then proceeded to ask the same questions about Auckland Transport (sorry I can’t remember the exact questions and I forgot to take a photo). Now I can’t say what it was specifically but I got the distinct impression from the wording of it that they may be considering doing away with the MAXX name and perhaps looking to adopt Auckland Transport instead.
Personally I think it would be a great idea as the name MAXX has always sat uneasily with me and the page on Wikipedia gives a great description as to the problem with it.
At launch time, Auckland Regional Transport Authority deemphasised the question of whether or not the name was an acronym:
“MAXX does stand for something. MAXX stands for comfortable and attractive facilities for commuters; fast, frequent and more reliable transport services; and comprehensive transport information. MAXX is not another acronym, but a symbol of quality.”
The brand was originally intended to refer to Metropolitan Auckland XXpressways, a brand developed by Auckland-based Sanders Design / Stephenson & Turner. The brand featured dark blue livery and a ‘pesky cartoon pukeko called Maxx’
Aside from the name I think there are other issues, it seems that almost everyone can’t stand the MAXX website either with the biggest complaints seeming to be around the journey planner which will often come up with odd results.
There are probably lots of other little things that I don’t like about the brand that I don’t like and I would see a change away from it a good chance for AT to start fresh without the baggage that the current brand has picked up along the way. I would also like to see a single brand (what ever it is) used across all buses, to me it shouldn’t matter if the bus is run by NZ Bus, H&E, Ritchies or any other company and all buses should either have the same livery or even better a livery that defines the quality of the route (i.e. the high frequency network is differentiated from the lower frequency network). This is something that should hopefully be able to happen once AT start rolling out the new PTOM contracts.
Back to MAXX, what do you think, should it stay or should it go?