Will it be an arc, an ion or a trio?

That’s the question being asked of Waterloo Region’s future light rail transit system after a shortlist revealed those three names as the three finalists for the $818-million project.

The region hired St. Jacobs-based Quarry Integrated Communications to develop the project’s name, logo and overall brand for $75,000.

From a list of over 400 potential names, Quarry came up with its three finalists, each with its own strengths and meanings.

“Ion is the Greek word for going, so it’s about being constantly in motion,” says Sarah Harwood of Quarry.

“Trio is about collaboration, and it also represents the three modes of transportation that are included in the system itself – local bus, iXpress and then the light rail.”

And ‘arc’?

“It’s about the journey of transit in the region,” says Harwood.

“It’s the next chapter, if you will. It’s also artistic and smooth and not quite straight, which is kind of like the system that we’re building.”

Harwood says the candidates were chosen based on other transit systems and comments from the public.

Regional transportation commissioner Thomas Schmidt says the region isn’t forced to use any of the three names if they feel the public isn’t on board.

“If someone does write in a different name or feels there’s something that’s better, we will take a look at that,” he says.

Public meetings on naming the LRT will be held Jan. 10, 14 and 15.