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Hunt for rapid transit name continues

By Charlotte Prong Parkhill
Kitchener Post staff

With input from more than 600 people, the Region of Waterloo is ready to tackle the next phase of choosing a name for the rapid transit system.

Local marketing firm Quarry Integrated Communications unveiled the three shortlisted brands for light rail transit two weeks ago: Arc, Ion and Trio.

The region hosted three public consultation meetings asking for feedback on the names, or suggestions for a new one.

More than 130 people showed up at the meetings, including 45 at the School of Pharmacy in Kitchener on Wednesday night.

“I know the name is a big deal to a lot of people, but I’ll ride it no matter what the name is,” said Brent Clements, a regular transit rider who attended the meeting.

Clements said his first choice would be Arc, but “None of them say ‘train’ to me.”

Mary Ann Wasilka, who cycles and uses public transit regularly, said she doesn’t think any of the names have captured a fun, adventurous, pioneer spirit.

“Because that’s what (the LRT) is going to be,” she said. “Maybe we should call it The Lurch?”

Wasilka said the region is thinking too much about marketing a product.

“It’s not a product. It’s a public service,” she said.

“There’s nothing catchy about the names and nothing that indicates it’s LRT.”

The region also has an online survey, which closes today. As of Thursday morning, more than 2,000 people had viewed the survey and 500 had completed it.

“We’re happy with the turnout at the open houses,” said Thomas Schmidt, Waterloo Region’s commissioner of transportation and environmental services.

“It’s fantastic to see the community engaged in the naming, and in the process itself.”

Schmidt said there’s been a serious effort on the part of participants to come up with serious names.

In online forums, many transit advocates have suggested a name that indicates a rail line, such as the Main Line, the Green Line or the Grand Line.

But plenty of people who have opposed light rail transit all along have come up with names such as WOM (Waste of Money) and the White Elephant.

Schmidt said he recognizes there are still people in the region who oppose light rail, but he said the region is working to bring the project in on time and on budget.

“There’s nothing we can do at this point to change their mind, other than make it work,” he said.

The rapid transit team will review all of the feedback, and present a recommendation to council in late February or early March. Once the final name is chosen, Quarry will begin work on the logo and design.

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