Al Runt holds up the Ride Guide he designed as he stands outside Lee's Palace whose mural he also created.

TTC hires street artists to design Ride Guide

Mural maker Al Runt among selected designers

The TTC has opted for a new approach to how they design the Ride Guide.

They are making the designs more representative of the city by reaching out to key figures in the city’s artistic community to design artwork they can put on the Ride Guides and sell as reproduction art pieces, says Brad Ross, head of communications for the TTC.

This includes artists like street artist Al Runt, Ross says.

“That will allow the TTC to connect and reflect back the city we serve, so we felt that [Runt] was a good choice for one of these covers. So we engaged him, and we will do so with other artists as well.”

Runt’s most popular project is the mural on the wall of Lee’s Palace on Bloor St. He says he was glad to take the opportunity because of the exposure that it would grant him.

“You’re in every subway, bus, streetcar in Toronto — you can’t get a better reason than that,” Runt said.

Like with all his other designs, Runt had a very clear concept for the Tour Guide cover.

He was allowed to execute it without any requests for changes from the TTC, as they allowed him to exercise his unique design sensibility.

His design uses transit as its theme, Runt says.

“There’s a bus, a streetcar, and a subway train, and there are creatures that are using them to travel from Point A to Point B, so in the top right they’re going through turnstiles and in the bottom left they’re going through turnstiles, so it’s basically just a riff on travelling.”

The Ride Guide with Runt’s cover and the accompanying prints have just been released.

They will soon be all over the TTC transit system. Ross says people have responded very positively to Runt’s design so far.

“Fundamentally, people want the TTC to deliver transit service, they want to rely on the TTC to get from Point A to Point B on time and safely and reliably and all of those things, but when we do these kinds of things that are outside of the core service of what we do, which is delivering transit service, people are pleasantly surprised and pleased to see that we’re doing these things, you know, making their experience and feelings about the TTC more positive,” Ross said.