I live in a big city – Brussels. Ok, it is not that big, but it is reasonably large. When we leave in cities we must accept that things will be grey. The pavement is grey, the buildings are grey and, at least in Brussels, most of the time, the sky is grey. People like to use grey and some admire to eat grey food.
When I first moved to Brussels, one of the nice things in the sea of greyness was the public transport. For many, many, many years the color of buses and trams in the Belgian capital was yellow. Look how cute they were:
Around 2007 some bureaucrat, that probably lives in a villa at a green suburb, decided that is was time to re-think the image of the Brussels transportation system and change the colours of buses and trams.
They could have chosen any color. Green, red, blue, orange, pink – anything that would both make the city transportation easily recognizable and the atmosphere more lively. After a lot of research and the waste of many thousand euro, the chosen color was grey.
In Brussels, now, we have a camouflaged transportation system:
I did a quick research and found out that no other city in Europe has a grey public transport:
- Lisbon – Yellow
- Madrid – Red
- Barcelona – White / Red
- Paris – White / Green
- London – Red
- Dublin – Yellow / Blue
- Amsterdam – White / Blue
- Frankfurt – Light Blue
- Munich – Blue
- Berlin – Yellow
- Vienna – Grey / Red / White (the closest to Brussels)
- Zürich – White / Blue
- Rome – Too many colours (Italian organisation? :))
- Copenhagen – Yellow
- Stockholm – Red and Blue
- Oslo – Red
- Athens – White / Blue / Yellow
- Bucharest – White
- Warsaw – Red / Yellow
- Helsinki – Blue / White
- Tallinn – White / Green
So this is it. It seems that no other city uses grey as the main color of their public transportation. Vienna is similar, but there is a good chunk of red in the vehicles.
I can think of some reasons for not using grey. I have already mentioned that it is ugly and makes the city even more monochromatic. Another reason is a practical one – It is much harder to see a grey bus than a coloured bus. This affects both the passenger that needs to catch the transport and the other drivers.
Maybe in another 50 years time someone will repair this stupid decision by probably painting the new fleet of flying buses in blue with white spots.