Walrus introduced to Merseyside

Following on the watery trail left by the Oyster, Orca and Octopus cards, Merseyside is the latest authority to introduce a transport payment card with the name of an aquatic animal: the Walrus

Following on the watery trail left by the Oyster, Orca and Octopus cards, Merseyside is the latest authority to introduce a transport payment card with the name of an aquatic animal: the Walrus

With a name and visual identity created by Liverpool-based Kenyonfraser, the Walrus was introduced on September 19, though it will take two years to roll out completely. The cards can be use across Merseytravel’s buses, trains and ferries (“Across the Merseyyyyy…etc”).

And the name? It’s a Beatles tie-in, of course. According to Merseytravel’s Ian Kenyon, “Obviously, Walrus has a link to Liverpool’s Beatles heritage, but more significantly the brand builds on the successes of Octopus, Orca and Oyster and other international smartcard brands… with an appropriate edge of Liverpool humour. The brand was tested and reviewed by three independent panels.”

The Orca card was introduced into the Puget Sound region of the US in 2009, while Hong Kong launched its Octopus card back in 1997


London’s Oyster card launched in 2003

  • “Coo Coo Ca Choo”

  • Neil

    Should of called it the Shellsuit.

  • I like it. at least it means something.

    And presumably the staff are now known as the eggmen…

  • They also have Snapper in Wellington, NZ. I don’t get the aquatic theme? Is everyone just copying the oyster? Who did it first? It’s a weird trend.

  • Huw Gwilliam

    Oyster actually means something if you consider the context of ‘The World’s Your Oyster [with this card presumably]

  • I do like the name, but at this rate we’re going to end up with a whole plethora of different systems across the UK’s towns and cities.

    When will I be able to use my Oyster card in Liverpool, or my Walrus card in London?

  • Jimbob

    It’s part of the ITSO tech so can work across Europe according to news stories. Think about walrus a bit longer than just the Beatles and it’s a pretty good name!

  • Here in SF we have the ‘clipper’ card, which is a nice connection the city’s heritage. Sadly the User experience is horrid.

  • Framedink

    Comments on comments? Mean nothing then? ‘Merseyyyyyy’ Shellsuit? God forbid someone comes on and upsets some precious designer…but it’s ok for CR to stick the boot in on the Scouse accent and ok to post up a comment about some 80s cliche. Well it’s should be ok for me to tell CR to take there heads from up there pretentious London backsides and take a trip up to Liverpool and discover something other than Shoreditch! I’d make some poor comments about Pearl-y Kings and Queens but we all know I doubt very much that there are any proper cockneys left in London anyway…

  • Comrad

    @ John IT Donut

    Never. Think about how many different transport organisations operate across the UK, TFL for London, GMPTE for Manchester etc. It would be damn near impossible to operate from one centralised location, not to mention awfully run. But more importantly it isn’t necessary, if you were regularly travelling between Liverpool and London say, then worst case scenario, you’d need an extra card in your wallet. I cant think of a situation where you’d need access to local public transport across the whole UK on a given day or weekend.
    I cant think of a country where you can interchange systems between cities. Although dont hold me to that.
    Plus I agree that only Oyster really makes sense, but I guess what else would you call them, more literal things like, travel or journey card. I duno.
    But naming something after an aquatic animal due to similar operation’s with similar themed names being successful elsewhere is dumb. Id hazard a guess Oyster is so popular because they pretty much force you to use it due to the increased fares you pay otherwise and also it does make life easier. They could probably call it anything they wanted and everyone would still use it.

  • tom

    Good comment @John. Surely all of UKs major cities should have the same system? It just makes sense for business men and women who frequently travel and to Joe bloggs on the street. if every city has their own system you’ll be carrying around a wallet just for your different travel cards.

    It might even give England a better chance of winning bids t host major sporting events e.g World Cup if we had a travel system which can be used across the UK.

    although I like the Walrus brand identity I think it’s very short sighted by the Merseyside authorities.

  • I think John (who’s apparently an IT Donut) makes a very good point about the ability of systems to work in conjunction with each other is logical and well made.

    It’s understandable that different transport systems will have different scales of charges, but the ability to take your Oyster Card, (or another kind of smart card) with you whilst visiting a different city, charge it up with credit and then use it whilst there would be a great idea.

    Since it’s likely that the use of smart card technology will inevitably spread, (to other cities in the UK and Europe) a common data format makes a heck of a lot of sense. Having said this, it remains to be seen whether different transport authorities will embrace this opportunity or create a situation where more tourist/business trip accquired plastic will go into landfill for the simple reason that the cards are wholly incompatible.

    Let’s hope they do the right thing.

  • H

    Also, the Clipper card in San Francisco!

  • PatrickBurgoyne

    @ Framedink
    It’s just a reference to the song which is played on the Mersey Ferry and which will forever be associated with it, nothing to do with any accent. Bit ironic that you’re complaining about us never reporting on anything outside London on a comment stream from a story about something from outside London.


    Can’t stand the colouring, the yellow is a Beatles reference too presumably. Shouldn’t Liverpool be associating it with something else by now?

    Suica is still the coolest travel card branding.

  • JW

    @Framedink really sorry to increase the steroetype quota on this page but:

    ‘Calm down, calm down’

    That being said I don’t like the logotype, bit of a poor excuse for an r they’ve got there but I do like the tusks/motion graphic symbol.

  • jennie

    Some people are thinking into it too much.

    I like it. Raises a smile.

  • As an exiled scouser living in London for the past 15 years, I too share the bored frustration from lame and lazy, stereotypical remarks which try to pass as humour. However, I don’t think we help ourselves by often using lame, lazy and stereotypical references ourselves.

  • Ashleigh

    @John IT Donut

    The ‘ITSO on Prestige project ‘ being undertaken by Transport for London will mean that you can use the Oyster card in Liverpool and the walrus card in London. Work is already underway!!


  • Sad to see a few old stereo-types here. I think the design is great and to be honest I don’t mind the Beatles connection – albeit quite loosely. Good on Merseytravel getting to grips with new (ish) technology!

  • Steve

    as Beatles connections go its pretty well done I’d say. good fun and it could’ve been ‘ticket to ride’… good stuff

  • I personally think Liverpool is sick of Beatles references and is trying to build a future that isn’t based upon a band from several decades ago, however popular they were.

    Liverpool has much, much more to shout about, and shouldn’t be treated as an advert to sell more records.

  • Jane Johnson

    It’s a shame to think that an entire city, in fact the whole region if you include all of Merseyside and The Wirral, still has to reference the Beatles as a symbol of what the place is all about. With such a rich history of shipping for example, and at one time being such an important gateway to the world, it’s disappointing they couldn’t come up with something much less cliched that could stand the test of time.

    Is it any surprise that there is a tendency for the rest of the nation to slip into stereo-type when companies like Merseytravel can’t even bother to reference anything other than popular culture?

  • Framedink

    Patrick CR: I may be commenting on a piece which may have landed on your desk, but physically when was the last time CR sent a Writer/Photographer to Liverpool to meet the people involved in the current design/art/visual scene that is just as boyant as the ferry on the merseyyyyy la, but I can’t begin to count the amount of Shoreditch based articles you feature on this blog, be nice to send some online traffic Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield, Newcastle, Leeds etc as much as you do for NoBrow et al…la

    Pesonally I’m very proud of The Beatles…

  • PatrickBurgoyne

    @ Framedink
    Alright, we’ll buy the train ticket if you give us a tour. Deal?

  • Comrad

    @John IT Donut

    Looks like I was well wrong then.


  • In Melbourne we have something called ‘myki’ (as in ‘my key’ / a bloke called mikey)… it’s just awful.

  • Framedink

    Deal…I would be more than happy to oblige and roll out the Red or Blue carpet…(believe it or not I’m as guilty as anyone of using clichés, self deprecating humour and I love nothing more than a good laugh at myself!). I’m sure there will be plenty of creative people from Liverpool that are already on the CR radar but I definitely think I could put together a pretty good tour and introduce you to a wide selection of fresh faces and places (and some not so fresh).

    So I suppose I asked and I got so fair play to you Patrick! I also hope the good people of London and CR also took my comments in the manner in which they were meant i.e. tongue & check, I don’t really think that you are all pretentious hipsters riding fixies, in the same way we don’t bounce round in shell suits (well maybe only on weekends) saying calm down calm down!

    I think sometimes as an artist/designer/creative living outside of London we can feel the pull/push of the capital and the opportunities wise there. There is no denying the talent that London has to offer or the respected and well established creative talent London has produced! So for the all the creatives who make the move to London there are plenty that decide to stay and try to build on the existing reputation of there home city and establish themselves locally which is honour taken with great pride, so as the whole world looks to CR to see what the UK is producing creatively we can sometimes feel on the outside looking in and when the UK has just as much to offer it can be a frustrating experience at times, especially in a recession when your platform never appears and yes there are great things going on in Shoreditch (& London Wide) at the moment but maybe the press surrounding words like Shoreditch & Banksy are now starting to translate to words like predictable & obvious, so surely I can’t be the only one in the world thinking this way! Its the same point people have brought up about The Beatles they come to define a place and it’s people, which is fine but never let it dominate and brand you because it soon dilutes the genius/imagination/creativity into the pedestrian/unimaginative/cliché. I think creativity and inspiration should constantly evolve and not rest on it’s laurel’s as too much of a good thing (cliché) can often make you go blind! Creativity thrives and is at it’s best and most exciting when it seems disposable, when it feels like a momentary thought captured and recorded through a medium as an expression of creativity that need to be released, sometimes it’s not always at the right time or in a place where it may be seen or understood by all but for that short period that it exists it does catch your eye and make you smile and you never even had to leave your home town…

    Patrick you have my email! Liverpool awaits!

    William Johnston

  • At least ‘Oyster’ implies the freedom of movement through association with phrase “The World is my..” If Del Boy has his way we would be using the Lobster Card…. Come to think of it that’s quite good : )

  • Geoff

    In Wellington, New Zealand we have Snapper cards. It’s a fish (just in case)

  • Martin

    The Puget Sound is home to several of the largest Orca pods in the world, so the name stirs local pride. For the seven transit systems participating in this smart card, ORCA stands for One Regional Card for All. Works for us!

  • I love the sound of the Octupus Card but i still think the oyster card is the best designed.

  • Tom

    Funny how people still think that Liverpool is full of chavs, it’s anything but. I live in Manchester now and there’s one on every corner (pun intended).