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The Queen City

Cincinnati’s transit authority wraps six hybrid buses.

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Throughout May, www.signweb.com will pay tribute to the many dynamic, exciting faces of vehicle graphics with a new project every weekday (except for the Memorial Day holiday). Enjoy this as an early appetizer before the forthcoming, month-long feast.

Metro, the Southwest Ohio Rapid Transit Authority’s (SORTA) bus-operation division, unveiled six, new hybrid buses on Earth Day, April 22. While offering an electric/diesel dual engine and a potential annual savings of 3,000 gallons of fuel, the buses also offer attractive graphics.

Cincinnati-based LPK, the graphic-design firm that assumed Metro’s branding in 2007, designed the bus wraps. John Kuchenmeister, LPK's creative director, said the design comprises a "watercolor" technique that imparts enough green to make the rider aware he's riding a hybrid bus.

Roadboardz (Cincinnati) handled the wrap’s fabrication and installation. New Flyer, the bus’ Winnipeg, MB, Canada-based manufacturer, asked Roadboardz to bid on the job. Adam Coffaro, the shop’s project manager, said the buses’ number of parts provided the project’s greatest challenge.

“Each coach required almost a full day,” he said. “We had to cut the film around several windows, vents, lights, reflectors and others, which required meticulous work.”

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The wraps, which span 625 sq. ft. on each bus, comprise 3M Graphics Market Center Controltac 180c film with 9720 clear, glossy overlaminate, which the company produced on its EFI VUTEk 3360 solvent-ink printer.

Dave Etienne, Metro’s director of marketing, praised the wraps as “Making it easy to for riders and non-riders alike to identify the newest additions to our fleet and feel good about their contributions to our local environment.” Further, he said federal funds subsidized at least 70% of the buses’ cost — local matching monies accounted for the remainder – and SORTA will use federal stimulus money to be delivered next year to order more hybrid buses.

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