The merger

The Victorian Department of Transport is expanding, absorbing Vicroads and PTV to one big agency.

We’ll have to see, but potentially this could be good. Better integration of different transport planning roles could benefit street-based public transport in particular.

Recent changes, moving some PTV roles into DOT (and/or the apparently shortlived Transport For Victoria) were just confusing.

Major projects authorities, such as those delivering the metro tunnel and the North East Link, will stay separate.

Huntingdale bus interchange

The most visible thing to the public is the branding. Does this change mean yet another expensive re-branding exercise, putting new logos on everything?

If that happens, hopefully they won’t go for the nuclear approach. Since the 1980s, we’ve had (just in metropolitan Melbourne):

  • Victorian Railways/Vicrail
  • Metropolitan Transit Authority/The Met
  • PTC
  • Bayside Trains/Hillside Trains /Swanston Trams/Yarra Trams
  • M>Train/M>Tram/Connex Trains/Yarra Trams
  • Connex trains/Yarra Trams
  • Metro trains/Yarra Trams
  • and now PTV.

What next?

The current PTV designs are mostly good – the colours, lines/patterns, typefaces all work quite well. The PTV logo itself is a bit meh – maybe it’s possible to start by just removing it.

If it’s replaced with something new, I’d prefer a more compact logo, with a name that’s easier to drop into conversation. (The Met might have been the best recent one for this.)

But the whisper is that the branding already seen on the Mernda line extension and the Huntingdale and Monash bus interchanges shows the way forward – most signs with no operator branding.

What this means for Vicroads branding is another question.

Of course, it’s how this new body works, and whether it provides improved planning and delivery, that really counts. Time will tell.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

6 replies on “The merger”

Looking at those new bus signs at Huntingdale… I think the way forward is pretty clear and PTV have already been pushing for that for a while. No logos means no expensive rebrand every time a government reshuffles the deck. It means more space on a modular sign for actual important user experience information such as colours, stop names, route numbers etc. And it means no confusing “do I call Transdev or CDC or PTV for my bus information?”

I never understood why every single sign at a train station needed a logo. It’s not like it means anything to passengers that all 10 or 20 station name signs on a platform have a tiny Metlink or PTV logo on them. The new signs at Flinders Street and at Mernda are so much cleaner being stripped down to their message. As far as roading goes… it’s usually an unbranded environment anyway. Road signs are often based on international standards.

By all means put a logo and contact details on actual customer information in poster cases at station entrances or timetable cases where people will actually be looking for contact details or have questions.

PT> logo is stupid. Always points to the right even when the entrance/exit/place that the user needs to go, is to the left.

@Crame, all good points, though I will note that most local street signs include a council name/logo, and a lot of the more recent major road signs include Vicroads or toll operator logos in the corner.

Lets not merge corporate with branding here.

They are at the corporate level is merging, but that is all about the management, and how the place is managed.

This does not mean anything in respect to branding. Perhaps the PTV logo will be moved, but, Metro and Yarra Trams, are both PTV brands, of which are now DO??? brands, and I hope these brands will at least stay in place after the merger events.

If somebody knows something that I dont here, please post your information here.

One needs to wonder, how long will this new arrangement last?

I hope the VicRoads videos are not removed. Ditto the PTV videos.

All state government videos should automatically be in the public domain as soon as they are uploaded.

I remember those Connex ads from 1999. Given the taxpayer subsidies, they should be in the public domain as well. Looks like Aussies have always wanted Americans in TV ads. Captain Risky in AAMI insurance ads. Alec Baldwin in Latitude Financial ads. Jeff Goldblum in Menulog ads.

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