People on the North Shore or those around town may have noticed some changes appearing on the Northern Express buses in recent months as some new livery has started appearing on them. The design prominently features the new AT logo which is something in itself that lead to a lot of discussion last year. As with a lot of things like this, some people will love the design while others will hate it and I will leave that up to you to decide what your feeling about it is. Thanks to Craig for both of these two images.
And here is what the old livery looked like.
It also raises the question of what will happen with the rest of the bus fleet in the future. Currently we have a every single operator having their own, or even multiple different liveries and while it sometimes can be useful, it more often than not only helps lead to confusion. In addition some of the liveries out there are just butt ugly *cough* Birkenhead Transport *cough*. Thankfully it seems that Auckland Transport are finally going to address this as they roll out the excellent new bus network over the next few years.
Having a consistent brand is something fairly common overseas, even when like us they have different companies providing the actual service. For example, London’s famous red buses are easily recognisable even though they can be operated by different companies with just a small logo on the front of the bus differentiating them. My understanding is that under with the new PTOM contracts (I will explain more about these in another post) AT will move to this approach and they will require operators to provide both a fairly high level of bus quality that is higher than what we have now, but also that we have consistent branding. That means that in the nearish future we are likely to see a lot more buses potentially looking like this and while I know not everyone will like the style, at least it will be consistent.
Keen observers may have also noticed that NZ bus have started to consolidate their livery on variation of the Metrolink design as they start to do away with their individual brand designs of Waka Pacific, Go West and North Star. It will be interesting to see if those will all need to be repainted again sometime soon.