In the naming contest post  from last week, Chris passed on this handy list of fare card names from other places ! I took a look through the list and highlighted names with interesting backstories, in case they might inspire winning contest entries…
|Oyster ||London, UK||Chosen as a fresh approach, unrelated to transit. The word Oyster had connotations of security and value.|
|Octopus ||Hong Kong||Octopus references number 8 which is very lucky in Asian cultures. 8 also means “many” and “reaching everywhere.”|
|Myki ||Melbourne, Australia||Sounds like “my key” to represent having a key for a new lifestyle, and also makes the card a character (“Mikey”). (Explanation found here!)|
|Clipper ||San Francisco||Named after Clipper ships: the fastest mode of transportation during the Gold Rush. This card used to be called the TransLink card!|
|CharlieCard ||Boston, Massachusetts||The CharlieCard is named after a fictional character in a folk music song often called “Charlie on the MTA”, which concerns a man trapped forever on the Boston subway system (then known as the Metropolitan Transit Authority, or MTA) because he can’t pay the 5-cent surcharge required to leave the train.|
|ORCA ||Seattle||ORCA (“One Regional Card for All”) Card|
|Suica ||Tokyo (Japan Rail)||Stands for “Super Urban Intelligent Card”, and is also a pun on the Japanese word for watermelon. As well, Sui Sui means smooth and Ka is an abbreviation for card.|
|Sugoca ||Japan (Fukuoka prefecture)||The name is an acronym of “Smart Urban GOing CArd”, while sugoka (凄か?) in the local Kyūshū dialect means “great”.|
|NicePass ||Japan (Entetsu Railway)||The name is an acronym of New Intelligence Card of Entetsu Personal and Smart System.|
From this I detect some general strategies:
- Pick a name of a sea creature with useful alternate meanings
- Pick a word not generally related to transit that gives the card some human features
- Acronyms: the more complex, the better.
- Puns, homonyms, and double meanings! The more the merrier!
Also, to be honest, my favourites are the non-acronym, non-punny, unrelated to transit names. Oyster! Myki! There’s something kind of bold about choosing a name like that and sticking with it. Enter the contest !