Introducing “Orbit” and “Access” for fixed route and paratransit service
Published on July 16, 2020
After thirty years in service, Huntsville Shuttle and HandiRide services have a new look and new names. The Huntsville Shuttle is now “Orbit” while HandiRide’s moniker has changed to “Access.”
The rebranding efforts are part of a larger, five-phase Transit Improvement Plan that includes expanded fixed route and paratransit service, a new mobile app, additional transit hubs and the elimination of underutilized routes. Additional improvements to Huntsville’s public transportation offerings include the addition of 30-minute service routes, reduced costs of monthly ridership passes, upgraded bus stop signs, new shelter maps, rider’s guides and more customer-friendly website content.
“Quality public transportation is the cornerstone of a healthy and prospering community,” Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said. “This rebranding is part of a larger, strategic implementation of the Nelson Nygaard Transit Study, and it represents much more than new colors and logos. It’s better signage, easier to understand customer information, safer and more welcoming bus stops, and more user-friendly website content. This is about enhancing our service to Huntsville citizens.”
The goal of the new brands is to accurately and easily reflect transportation offerings while invoking a feeling of movement and momentum. The brands are tied directly into Huntsville’s past and future, with clear references to what helps put and keep Huntsville on the map: space exploration, innovation and reaching for the stars.
“It was time for a new look to match Huntsville’s forward-thinking and modern trajectory,” Parking and Public Transportation Director Tommy Brown said. “The ‘Shuttle’ – a reference to the now-retired Space Shuttle and a nod to Huntsville’s role in space exploration – served us well for many years. We’re excited to launch these new brands, and we’re hopeful they will help put public transportation on the radar for new audiences.”
Brown said the “HandiRide” name brought to mind the outdated term “Handicap” in reference to individuals with differing abilities. Brown said “Access” reinforces Huntsville Transit’s goal of helping all citizens – regardless of ability – access as much of the city as possible.
WATCH: Understanding the inspiration behind “Orbit” and “Access”
For Devyn Keith, Huntsville City Council President and District 1 representative, the City’s investment in rebranding is a clear investment in its citizens.
“Transit is more than getting from point A to point B,” Keith said. “For many, it’s a lifeline. It’s how our residents get to doctor’s appointments. To jobs. I’m proud of the City and Huntsville Transit for investing in the people we serve.”
Dennis Madsen, the City of Huntsville’s Manager of Urban and Long Range Planning and a central author of the BIG Picture comprehensive plan emphasized transportation’s role as a great connector and equalizer.
“A new look can generate more interest and excitement, and it also shows a recognition that more people than ever before are taking advantage of Huntsville’s transit options. Based on the analysis and projections coming out of the BIG Picture comprehensive planning process, we knew that ridership would grow if we could engage a wider audience. This rebranding helps the City do just that.”
Huntsville Transit officials expect all 19 Orbit buses and 25 Access vehicles to be rewrapped by mid-August. In the meantime, Huntsville citizens can expect to see a mixture of the old and new brands on Huntsville roadways.
About Huntsville Transit Services
Public Transit is a shared ride alternative to driving alone, reducing the overall carbon footprint of the City of Huntsville. Bicycle racks on buses help to further encourage car-free trips from point A to B, empowering citizens to use a combination of buses and bike-riding to reach destinations.
Transit provides low-cost transportation for citizens to access jobs, groceries, medical needs and recreation. Transit services are especially important to the quality of life for individuals who can’t drive, or are part of a family unit with one or fewer automobiles in the household. Elderly and individuals with disabilities often find that transit is their only affordable option for accessing the doctors, pharmacies, programs and services in the city.