- Have you put mourning bands on the busstop shield? passengers asks when they notice that the upper part of the shield at their busstop is black with white lettering instead of the usual white with black lettering.
Actually the colour is not black but dark brown according to a man who knows, namely Ulf Johansson at Västtrafik’s entrepreneur for service of stops (Riksbyggen). It is obvious that he has had to explain the change many times, because when I put my questions about it, he immediately puts forward a good argument for the change: ”There is a good side to this new laminat because it is much, much cheaper than the former white one.”
The company for public transportation in my region Västra Götaland, Västtrafik, has 5 750 stops with ”weather protection”, that is shields*. All those shields have now got dark brown tops instead of white. No bus driver that I have asked has known why, most of them have not even noticed the change. Naturally I wonder about the reasons for this investment and it’s costs. Ulf Johansson does not know the reasons, only that he is commissioned to change. And he does not know why the colour is not the blue Västtrafik uses in all decorating, or who takes this kinds of decisions.
Västtrafik’s helpful presscommunicator Jens Holmberg got me to a fuller answer from the deciding departement:
1. Light text against dark background gives better contrast which makes the text easier to read for those with bad sight.
2. On a dark laminate algae grow slowlier than on a light.
3. Those writing grafitti do not like dark backgrounds.
The change from white to brown has been made only when it anyhow has been neccessary to change the white laminate.
I accept such argument, although blue hade been prettier.
In Swedish ”mourning band” also means the black under ones nails, so the words points not only at grief, but also at uncleanliness.
*According to the business plan for 2011-2013, the last page.