Oslo’s rapid transit system seems to be going through a self-imposed identity crisis. Officials running the city’s subway, known for decades as the T-bane, want to re-name it the Metro. Passengers want to derail the whole idea.
“Stupid,” “expensive,” “crazy,” even “reprehensible” were among words used to describe the proposed name change in letters to the editor of local newspapers on Friday. Newspaper commentators have also been highly critical.
The transit authority itself changed its own name recently, from the venerable Oslo Sporveier to Ruter. Now the powers-that-be at Ruter want to “internationalize” the local subway system, which also runs above ground and already is called “Metro” on the English versions of its signage.
Newspaper Aften reported last week that Ruter wants to spend NOK 95 million on a new design for the T-bane, and on new information for it.
Reaction has poured in all week, and it’s far from positive. What really seems to have riled users of the system is the proposal to change all the “T” signs at stations around the city to “M” for “Metro.”
“Let the T-bane be the T-bane,” implored Pål Jensen of Ski in a letter to Aften on Thursday. Another angry passenger, Ralf Stahlke of Vestre Haugen, claimed that it’s “reprehensible” to use NOK 95 million to swap T-bane with Metro. “Why throw away money that can be used on something more important?” he wrote.
Gry Isberg, information chief in Ruter, told Aften the name change “is fully in line with international design that everyone understands.”
Ruter officials also claim they’re trying to “clean up” a “chaotic” signage and information system covering the city’s T-bane, trams, bus and boat routes.