GO Transit positions itself as an automotive disruptor

For its first appearance at the Canadian International Auto Show, the agency aims to show public transit in a new light.


There’s a popular joke on Twitter that pops up every time a startup claims to have “disrupted” transportation: “every two or three weeks, a tech guy accidentally invents the concept of a city bus.”

GO Transit is leaning into the fact that it has already embraced innovation (which many other automakers are currently developing) ahead of its first appearance at the Canadian International Auto Show.

Working with BBDO Toronto, the public transit system – which operates bus and rail service to municipalities in the Greater Toronto Area and Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe region – released a dramatic video, featuring the spirited reveal of a vehicle that doesn’t require passengers to use any of their senses: the bus.

The video launched last week, coinciding with the Auto Show’s opening on Feb. 15. It will be playing at GO Transit’s booth, but is also being supported through a paid social buy, airing throughout the year to encourage people to use GO transit more often, such as to events throughout the region that it serves.

GO Transit’s single-deck bus will be on display at the Auto Show, next to new vehicles that represent both the latest innovations in automotive and the highest-end models some brands have to offer.

Mark Childs, CMO at GO Transit’s parent agency Metrolinx, told strategy in an email that the insight behind the campaign came from the experience of riding the GO Bus, which gives riders an opportunity to relax or be productive on the way to their destination. It decided to draw a parallel between that experience and the anticipation of autonomous vehicles, something that’s especially top-of-mind during high profile events like the Auto Show.

“We know that transit has a unique point of difference, one we wanted to celebrate,” he said, adding that the campaign is meant to “inspire customers to take a second look at GO Buses and to rethink their perceptions of transit and the benefits of a safe, comfortable and enjoyable ride.”