Bus system name is SPOT on

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SANDPOINT — The fixed-route bus system expected to debut in June has not only been given a name — it’s received an entire identity.

After a week-long contest that received more than 100 submissions, a committee headed by Devin Marks of Schweitzer Mountain Resort selected SPOT, an acronym for Selkirk-Pend Oreille Transit, as the winning selection. The individual who entered the chosen suggestion decided to remain anonymous.

“From my perspective as chamber president, I think this is the greatest thing ever,” Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce President and contest committee member Kate McAlister said.

That enthusiasm primarily derives from the colorful and fun presentation that the bus system’s new name allows. Instead of the drab stops familiar to any public transportation veteran, the system will employ “Spot stops” that will enhance the experience.

“For example, destinations along the evening route will be ‘Night Spots,’” McAlister said. “I’m thinking the library could be the ‘Smart Spot.’”

System officials will present the spots on colorful route maps that will help riders select the appropriate destination. In addition, the committee selected a mascot for the system — a friendly moose named Spot. The committee has commissioned Keokee Publishing to draft logo and mascot designs for the system.

Although committee members are happy with their winner, McAlister said the selection process was a difficult one.

“We were there for probably three hours trying to pick the winner,” she said.

After individually picking their favorite submissions, members then narrowed the list down to a top five. Finally, the committee voted on the winner. Favored submissions were succinct, abbreviated into a clever acronym and portrayed an the system as the product of multiple communities.

“For example, one favorite submission was DART., which stood for Dover Area Transit,” McAlister said. “But that was eventually ruled out because it didn’t represent the other cities that made the system possible.”

The possibilities that the SPOT submission offered in engaging the community, however, won committee members over.

With work under way in designing an eye-catching presentation for the bus system, transportation officials are hoping to make a positive first impression when the buses roll out in the summer.

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