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Art-wrapped GO Train Starts Transit Conversation
Art Train Conductor No. 9 uses art and technology to engage riders in discussion about building sustainable transit

Art Train Conductor No. 9. Photo by A-Frame Courtesy of No.9: Contemporary Art & the Environment

An influx of colour should have train commuters talking this summer. Art Train Conductor No. 9 — the latest project from arts and environmental organization No. 9 in partnership with Metrolinx — aims to engage GO Train riders in a conversation about building sustainable transit in the Greater Toronto and Hamilon Area by sending the art-wrapped Bombardier Bi-Level train car across the GO network over the next five months. At the Union Station unveiling this morning, GO Tranist President Gary McNeil said, “Through art and technology, we wanted to create a public forum that allows GO riders to engage in discussion about sustainable transportation solutions.” On board, passengers are prompted to download an app called tetAtet that will let them watch, share and comment on videos from prominent Torontonians, including Margaret Atwood, architect Bruce Kuwabara and Spacing magazine editor/co-owner Shawn Micallef, speaking about the important role transit plays in building the sustainable cities of the future.

Artists Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins designed the brightly coloured contemporary graphic covering the body of the train and the ceiling inside the car. Blending the physical and digital realms the Art Train project exists within, the design evokes a colourful QR-code overlapping with camouflage and zebra stripes. Two ambassadors wearing snazzy jagged-striped jumpsuits will ride with the GO Passengers During the first week of operation to show off the app and get the conversation started. Over the next five months thousands of citizens will be exposed to the Art Train across the region starting June 27th on the Lakeshore line. McNeil says that with multiple rush hour trips, the single car can carry about 1000 passengers per day. He added that if they can even engage 10% of their 62 mil annual passengers, the project will have a significant impact.

Interior of the Art Train. Photo by A-Frame Courtesy of No.9: Contemporary Art & the Environment

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Michael Kolberg is The Sprawl Editor at Toronto Standard. Follow him on Twitter for jokes @mikeykolberg

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