TransLink's final three electronic fare card name suggestions lack any sense of fun
Tpass, Compass, Starfish. No, this isn't an introduction to the worst group of rappers in music history. These are the trio of names currently under consideration for TransLink's new electronic fare card.
Late last year, TransLink put out a call for fare card name suggestions. Having received 54,000 entries, a crack team whittled the choices down to the three abysmal selections above. The public will pick the final name by an online vote (going on until January 28). However, TransLink has given us the blandest, most inoffensive, and not-at-all inspiring group of names from which to choose.
Tpass is by far the most lackluster of the suggestions. According to TransLink's website, it was picked as a finalist as "T" could stand for "Transit, Travel, or Transportation"—or as it notes later, "Transaction". (Can you tell TransLink's is already thinking about future branding and marketing initiatives?) Fiscal opportunities aside, the name is dull. It would make sense in a place that begins with the letter T (Toronto, Terrace, Transylvania) but Vancouver? At the very least, one of the suggestions to vote on should have been "Vpass". (I imagine my suggestion of "V-Card" was just a little too cheeky for the TransLink team.)
And Compass? When was the last time anyone used a compass? Maybe back in 1870 while prospecting for gold, or during those orienteering trips you took with your Brownie troop when you were five. Want to know how to find north in Vancouver? Look for the mountains. Want to find anything else? Use your GPS—conveniently located in the car that you drive as you would never be caught dead on transit.
Starfish is the most understandable of the three sanitized names under consideration. After all, there are actual starfish on the coast of B.C. But really, when was the last time you saw a starfish except the last time you dragged the kids down to the aquarium? The only real justification as to why this name is a finalist is to imitate Hong Kong and London (with their fare cards known as Octopus and Oyster respectively). Piggybacking on other cities' branding? Poor form, TransLink.
If you want a fishy name that really speaks to West Coast culture, "Sockeye" would have fit the bill perfectly—or perhaps "Falcon", a homage B.C.'s former minister of transportation who oversaw the approval of the Canada Line, the Gateway Expansion project, and the controversial Bill 43, which saw TransLink's board of directors transformed from a democratically elected entity into a group of handpicked "professionals" working alongside a mayor's council.
Follow the should-have-been-in-marketing Miranda Nelson on Twitter.