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Contest inspiration: fare card names from other places

Contest inspiration: fare card names from other places

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…

Card Place Name explanation
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!


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