Charlottesville Transit System Renamed

CAT Bus Mockup

The Charlottesville Transit Service is being rebranded as “CAT,” Sean Tubbs reports for Charlottesville Tomorrow, complete with a wretched new logo and slogan: “Catch the Cat.” Because when you think about public transit in Charlottesville, the city apparently wants you to remind you of the generally unpleasant experience of attempting to capture a fleeing feline. (Last time I tried that, I wound up with a half dozen kitten claws embedded deep in my arm.) But, hey, maybe they’re highlighting the positive side of cat-chasing.

Oh, and Chatham, Bismarck, Mackinac Island, Raleigh, Watchung, and Clemson called—they want their slogan back.

21 Responses to “Charlottesville Transit System Renamed”

  • I presume there will be a George Clinton-themed advertising campaign.

  • Notice the cat’s color. How long before the politically askew jump in seeing racial overtones.

  • How much money did they spend on the rebranding, and how much will it cost to change all the signs, buses, brochures, etc. accordingly? Probably not the best time to be doing something like this, if there ever is a good time.

  • Agree 100% Pete. Exactly how is this supposed to improve the service or encourage people to use transit?

  • Actually rode the bus for few errands downtown yesterday. Not bad, if you have the time and are not grocery shopping. For a day pass, (1.50) I managed to hit all transfers with no wait. However what would take a 1/2 hour took a bit more than a hour. Drivers friendly and professional.

  • But I’m allegic to cats?! Plus most cats don’t come when you call them, won’t go out in the rain, and are very difficult to herd. Why do I get the image of one of these new buses stopped on the bridge above the train station waiting for the Cardinal to chug by-ready to pounce.

  • Isn’t a black cat considering an ominous omen? I liked the old smiling sun CTS logo.

  • Jeez, that’s awful.

  • There has to be a way to find out how much this is going to cost. Someone must know.

  • Urgh, I like change, but that’s an utterly heinous design. Very cheap and tacky. Be so much cooler for the bottom half to be green sort of fading into a blue top half, and have the colors be a bit closer to nature. And lose the black cat– I don’t like the ominous way his claws are poking at the tire on that bus. Agree w/ Huja… very depressing.

    Speaking of claws, great kitteh photo Waldo. Wendy looks like she was loaded w/ personality!

  • FWIW, I’m a big fan of CTS (I’m on a bus at this very moment, in fact). I just think the name and slogan are both bad and a waste of money. Basically, I’m with Huja on this.

    VoR, Wendy was a spirited little kitty. :) We found her a good home, along with her sister, a few weeks later. Her new owner told us a year later of the cat’s odd habit of curling up in the sink, and that she loved baths. I guess that experience was more formative than scarring. :)

  • While I agree that the panther logo is tacky and boring, I think a mnemonic is a great idea for the bus system. People in the town of Orange speak fondly of their TOOT (Town of Orange Transit). The first time I heard it, I went HUH? but you don’t forget it.

  • I can see some benefit from the name change. “Take the CAT to Barracks Rd.” sounds more appealing to this potential rider than “take the bus.” Subtle, I know.

    The new look feels cheap to me, I agree with some of the sentiments about how to improve it. I don’t mind the cat, per se.

    Now may in fact be a good time to do this financially speaking, if costs are lowered due to the recession. I’m grasping here, but whoever provides this rebranding service, makes signs, paints buses, etc. may be charging less now than 2 years ago.

    I walk to work downtown, though I do have a bus stop near my house. The bus route from that stop to my office is not direct, which is at least partly why I’ve yet to try using it. But I also simply enjoy the walk, even in the rain, snow drifts, etc.

    So will I ride the CAT? Can’t say it would make me more likely to. So I guess I’m shooting down most of my point here.

  • We first reported this possibility last May, when the MPO Policy Board heard a report from Selena Barlow of a firm called Transit Marketing. To hear her report, visit our story. Her section of the podcast begins at 53 minutes in.

    If you’re click-averse, here’s two paragraphs:

    Barlow said much of that information could be better relayed to the public if CTS incorporated a branding strategy that included a more navigable website. She said the existing brand may be dated and somewhat ineffective.

    “It doesn’t really communicate transit unless you’re seeing it on the side of a bus,” Barlow said. This would be an ideal time to consider a new brand, according to Barlow. “One of the reasons this came up early on was the possibility of transitioning to a Regional Transit Authority and introducing a new name that would be appropriate for use when that transition happens.”

  • They’ve got enough money to waste on Rebranding CTS, no wonder they don’t want to lose the 2.6 mil of education dollars – they might actually have to be fiscally responsible.

    Plus most cats don’t come when you call them, won’t go out in the rain, and are very difficult to herd.

    You can train a cat to come when you call them. It’s easy. For about 2 or 3 weeks- every time you call them give and they respond, them a meaty treat. After that- they will recognize their name and 90 percent of the time respond to it, at least acknowledging that they know you are addressing them. As for going out in the rain- you shouldn’t allow your cat outdoors at all. Not if you really care about the animal.

  • Now they just need a song to go with it…

    Two feets they come a creepin’, like a black cat do…

    Or maybe…

    Cat Scratch Fever!

  • As an owner of three black cats, I tend to agree with the assessment of the “cat” theme mentioned in previous comments: I don’t like having to catch a cat. It’s difficult and they never go where you want them to.

    Aside from that, I wonder why they’re putting energy into something as superficial as rebranding when what our public transit system needs is a good, thoughtful route overhaul. The existing routes, as I and others have observed over the years, are random, long and roundabout; while transfers seem to work well, it just takes a long time to get anywhere. Evening and weekend service is lacking. A city the size of Charlottesville could have a great transit system, and there are other cities out there with better bus line arrangements (a trunk line system with buses on major roads every 15 min. and smaller connector buses looping through neighborhoods and meeting main lines at transfer points, flexibly or more often at peak travel times).


  • I would like to see the transit system improve on how it operates. A name change and new bus colors and logo does not seem to be the answer here. With all the cuts to education in the city schools it seems that the city is more interested in changing the bus system than maintaining a top rate school system.
    Better timing is important, bus service in the some of the neighborhoods (which they cut service to),more weekend service and later hours are some concerns. I can’t understand spending that much money for a name change, new colors and a new logo when it is not really needed at this time.

  • I’m not opposed to a rebranding effort but the black panther (i.e., mountain lion) is a pretty lame piece of clip art.

    Am I the only one confused by the picture showing the cat and the old “Charlottesville Transit System” name instead of the new “Charlottesville Area Transit” (CAT)? Couldn’t the company have supplied the total rebranding look/feel?

    NOTE to the bus painters: Be sure to paint CAT on the buses in the course of updating them. Just want to be sure this isn’t overlooked.

  • The name change wasn’t technically on Council’s agenda last week. They were simply being asked if they liked the colors and logo. Mayor Norris suggested they go ahead and rename the service, and Council agreed. All I had that day was the art with the old name and the new color scheme. You can see an updated version in our original article or in our cvillepedia article on CTS.

  • $90,000, if they can get sufficient transportation grants, $18,000. A perfect waste fof money. I agree with every critical comment made here. What does a cat have to do with transporation? Why not use an elephant or camel? What I find disgusting is that Council can’t wait to appropriate money to any and every idea that floats by, as though it was going to get away from he before they make important budget decisions. Just like someone with his first charge card. Why not use the money to improve some of the bu stops in town? Maybe more shelters and benches? And, yes, it’s ridiculous that the federal or state government would provided localities money to paint their bus.

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