Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), a public transportation system in the San Francisco Bay Area, has found a fun new way to appeal to youth riders. Answering an open call for anime mascot designs, local artists sent in a over 500 submissions. The winning five designs draw inspiration from local Bay Area characters, like Pac-Man, the Harris hawk employed to shoo away pigeons, the grazing goats that eat away at overgrown BART properties, and the hardworking frontline workers of BART itself.
BART's anime mascots include:
- "Baylee The GOAT," a "star online influencer" inspired by the goats BART hires to graze the East Bay hills
- "Nimus Bard of BART," a "historian with a hawk companion," inspired by Pac-Man the hawk
- "Jasmine #1 Transit Fan," inspired by BART fans who attended last year's 50th anniversary celebrations
- "Mira the Train Operator," a train operator character inspired by actual BART train operators
- "BARTY," an R2-D2-type character inspired by BART's legacy fleet
If you're in the San Jose, California area this weekend, you can meet the new mascots:
BART's anime mascots will make their formal debut at FanimeCon, a popular anime convention held at McEnery Convention Center in Downtown San Jose from May 26 to 29. BART staff will be tabling at the convention and will have BART-themed anime merchandise, promotional tickets, collectible charms and postcards, and more.