CoMo Connect unveils new brand for citywide transit change

Tuesday, June 3, 2014 | 5:42 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — An aggressive campaign to rebrand the city bus system shifted into high gear Tuesday when city officials held a ribbon cutting for CoMo Connect at the MU Student Center.

"Columbia itself is growing, and the current buses really didn't meet the needs that we have right now," Fifth Route Supervisor Shannon Hemenway said. "So we thought we could do it better."

CoMo Connect

More information about CoMo Connect is available on its website.

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CoMo Connect will have more than 700 bus stops around the city and will use 19 buses, Hemenway said.

"Unlike past revisions where we made tweaks around the margins, this was a full blank-slate approach," said Drew Brooks, multi-modal manager for the city's Public Works Department. 

CoMo Connect's brand design was produced by Creative Ink, a student-run marketing firm connected to Stephens College. The design project, headed by assistant professor Kate Gray, began in spring 2013 when the idea for the new bus system took shape.

"They were working for pretty much the identity for CoMo Connect," Gray said. "So you're going to see that on the website, you're going to see that on all the pages if there's print material, you're going to see that with the buses."

CoMo ConnectThe branding effort resulted in an image the city is eager to display.

"We used elements of the (CoMo Connect) logo to denote where the connection points are in our routes," Brooks said. "We also feel like with those colors, it's really a vibrant example of the diversity of Columbia. We are really happy with its design."

New bus routes and schedules are expected to begin in August.

Despite numerous upgrades to the bus system, CoMo Connect will not add costs to the transit system's operating budget, said Rob Davis, safety and training supervisor for the Public Works Department.

"We're staying right in the same budget that we're using now," Davis said. "That was part of the plan, to keep it the same."

The new system, according to previous Missourian reporting, will consist of 11 bus routes: seven neighborhood routes, one downtown route, a commuter route and two student routes that are called Black and Gold.

CoMo Connect will fundamentally change Columbia's bus routes, which have traditionally centered on the main hub of Wabash Station.

Some transfers will still occur at Wabash Station, but the city has outgrown the old "spoke-and-wheel" bus system that funnels all buses to the station, Hemenway said.

More information about CoMo Connect is available on its website.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

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