Recent history has been hard on the OC Transpo brand, and it's not going to be easy for the transit utility to shake the negative associations that sometimes can follow the mention of its name. With that in mind, the city issued a Request for Qualifications to the public for consultants with ideas on how to "revitalize" the OC Transpo brand, as reported on 580 CFRA.
The process won't be an easy one, and really, revitalizing the brand starts and ends with improving the service. But even when (if?) service is improved significantly, the negative reputation built up will likely follow OC Transpo for a generation or more. So the question is: How do you counter that?
It's unlikely there will be a change to the name OC Transpo or the 'look and feel' of the brand. Too much investment has already gone into it, and the custom paint jobs on all the buses would be too much to change in the short-term.
The answer might just lie in the incoming LRT 'spine' to the transit system. It's obviously a ways off, but distancing the LRT system from the flawed brand of the OC Transpo bus system might be the best way to move forward with a revitalized transit brand for the city. Once the train--whether it's branded as an O-Train, or the DOTT Line, or the Capital Train, or some colourful name reminiscent of other cities' systems is hardly relevant; getting a new brand to build up with positive momentum would be all that is needed for the process. After that's taken care of, the decision of whether to expanding that brand into the bus system or completely severing the two from one another in terms of their brand can be made.