Metro-quality service between Chch and Waimakariri
April 26, 2006
Metro-quality service between Christchurch and Waimakariri District
Residents in the Waimakariri District can expect a better bus service operating between Rangiora and Christchurch from November. Environment Canterbury is tendering a more frequent metro service to the Waimakariri District and possibly also a service to Waikuku Beach, in response to community support. Of 700 responses received by ECan, close to 60 per cent wanted an improved service.
Currently, the bus service goes through Kaiapoi and Woodend to Rangiora and back, at approximately 90-minute intervals weekdays and two hourly intervals on weekends. This is not frequent enough for people to rely on, according to community feedback. ECan councillors decided today to tender a 30-minute bus service, travelling on a direct route between Kaiapoi and Rangiora to the city, with an hourly shuttle service connecting Woodend to Kaiapoi and Rangiora.
“It currently takes up to an hour-and-a-half to travel from Rangiora to the centre of Christchurch by bus during peak times,” says Cr Nicky Wagner, Environment Canterbury’s chair of public passenger transport. “It also stops to pick up passengers all the way along Main North Road and Papanui Road, which slows it down. So, many residents feel it is much quicker to travel by car,” she says.
Waimakariri communities have indicated that they are prepared to contribute to the more frequent and direct service via their rates. Most Waimakariri residents taking part in the consultation process said that they would be prepared to pay around $15 per $100,000 capital value to subsidise the improved bus service.
As well as covering the increased frequency, this would also take the fare down to $50 for five days commuting paying cash or $37.50 for the same period with a Metrocard. Currently people pay $65 per week cash fare or $57.50 with a Metrocard.
Cr Wagner says residents would also see an improvement in the quality of the buses used, and ECan is proposing newer, low floor vehicles to provide better access. ECan is also looking at metro-style timetable information for all bus stops on the route. The new service will be tendered on a five-year contract to start in November this year. Waikuku Beach will be included in the tender for the Woodend shuttle if Waikuku Beach residents support the idea and the rating implications.