A bus wrap looks like it's transparent.

Inside out – making GO Transit’s ‘see-through’ bus wraps

Here’s an inside look on how these transparent bus wraps came to life.

Nov 9, 2020

It’s clear GO Transit is serious about scrubbing everything down to the core.

Customers and those travelling near four specially wrapped GO buses will get that message, as the big vehicles – unveiled this week – feature a novel approach to boasting about how clean they are.

Metrolinx continues to ensure customers’ safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, with over 40 new health and safety measures undertaken and expanded cleaning across GO stations, trains and buses. The idea is that GO buses are kept so clean that they are meant to look completely see-through. 

And it actually ties in nicely to the transparent seat dividers that are being installed on GO buses, for the security and safety of customers.

But while they’re not actually see-through, the illusion is pretty convincing. So, what goes into producing this effect? This behind-the-scenes video offers you a glimpse into the journey.

Metrolinx worked with ad agency BBDO Canada, photographer Gustavo Toledo and production house D’Avila Studio to put it all together amidst the pandemic to execute the vision in real life.

Work began with Metrolinx’s Bus Operations team to secure computer-aided design drawings of single-decker GO buses. From there, 3D modeling was done to plan the artwork that would later be printed as weather-durable bus wraps.

To make the wraps as photorealistic as possible, the team accounted for every fine detail of a typical GO Bus – even the hand sanitizer dispenser located on the door. Photorealism was also in mind when choosing to photograph real actors as opposed to computer-generated imagery. And since leashed dogs can ride on GO, you’ll even see a dog named Lola riding in the front with her handler.

With photography of actors and bus features secured, final work began to apply effects and layer everything into one piece of artwork, providing for a complete GO bus filled with passengers and luggage.

Perforated vinyl was used by a digital printing company to print the artwork into large panels to be used to wrap the four buses.

In a process taking the better part of a week, the four GO buses were wrapped at a Metrolinx bus facility by a small group of workers. In an effort to continually account for the safety of everyone involved, each crew member was required to go through a series of health checks prior to entering the facility, and personal protective equipment was required at all times.

The final result is something that Metrolinx says is a stark visual reminder of the transit agency’s commitment to safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Look out for one of these four special buses in a neighbourhood near you and if you can do so safely, take a photo and share it on social media – don’t forget to tag @GOTransit

by Adam Jagdat Metrolinx marketing advisor