The metlink rebranding

Page last modified/checked: Tuesday, 19 July, 2005
The 1999 privatisation of Melbourne's rail and tram services resulted in three foreign based operators controlling four geographic urban franchises. Not surprisingly, each was keen to establish their identity on all aspects of their services from new and refurbished vehicles through to signage, timetables and public information. During this process, many examples of the identities of the four former business units established in preparation for franchising have gradually dissappeared. These too, were on vehicles, signage and public information. The overall result is that since 1997, the travelling public have been subjected to a baffling array of names, logos and colours.

Unfortunately, the good work of establishing a standardised and unified image of the metropolitan transport system started by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (1983) and continued by the Public Transport Corporation (1989) has been very much undone.
"The Met", as everybody knew the system, has become incognito.

Common goals with clashing identities on these pocket information sources.

The State Government recognised this erosion of identity and by early 2002 were in discussions with all operators as to how the system might be rebranded and marketed under a new common name. The extent to which operators would continue to display their own identities was also part of this process. The Age newspaper of 7th April 2002 carried a feature article on this scenario calling it "Met mark II". Nothing more was heard until mid-2003 when Transport Minister Peter Bachelor unveiled the new brand name "metlink" at Ashburton station on June 9th. Also revealed was the adoption of specific colours to identify each transport mode - viz: blue = rail, green = tram/light rail, orange = buses. These colours will be used on new, standardised signage, timetables and other information. This part of the rebranding process will be a considerable improvement on the mish-mash created since the 1990's and worsened under privatisation.

Transport routes in the City of Booroondara are the first to go through the metlink rebranding and to help promote this, a pleasing fold-out map/information sheet was letter-boxed to households in that city.


* In gereral, the colours blue and green were already widely used by private operators for rail and tram signage.
* National Express group withdrew from their M>Train and M>Tram franchise from 24th December 2002
* The diminished Public Transport Corporation was dissolved from July 1st 2003. The timing of the rebranding was therefore not merely a coincidence.
* The 1988 Metplan document contained a proposal for a network of long cross-regional bus routes which, if they had been implemented, were to be called ... Metlink.