July 6, 2009
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Lake Erie Transit Goes ‘Groovy’
Lake Erie Transit (LET) in Monroe, MI, wants the public to know that its new hybrid bus is not just good for the environment—it’s also fun. The bus highlights the counterculture roots of the green movement by wrapping itself in a bright design of smiley faces, recycling symbols, and peace signs.
“We wanted to play off on the whole recycling and energy conservation effort, which did start in the 1970s,” said Theresa Sheroian, president of Sheroian Associates, which works with LET. “It goes with the agency’s slogan—‘It’s a journey, share the ride’—and the smiley face was a popular icon of the era. It made sense to bring it together with the whole concept of peace and recycling.”
LET is using the bus for community outreach, visiting destinations such as schools, hospitals, and libraries.
Sheroian described how LET introduced the new bus to service gradually. At first, she said, the agency painted the bus a plain brown and used it for training. “Later on, we wrote ‘ugly but fuel-efficient’ on one side of the bus; the other side had a message about the benefits of hybrid propulsion,” she added. “Eventually we wrapped the bus with the current message.”
The “flower power bus” is just one of three new hybrid buses in the LET fleet, each with a distinctive, eye-catching exterior design. The others are the Spirit of Monroe, featuring graphics of popular area landmarks and destinations, and the spring green Butterfly Bus, decorated with colorful butterflies.