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Huge feedback response to metro strategy

September 5, 2006

MEDIA STATEMENT


Huge feedback response to metro strategy

Environment Canterbury and the Christchurch City Council have already received over 1100 responses in less than a fortnight on their draft Metro public transport strategy for Greater Christchurch. Feedback is open all this month until October 4 via the website (www.metrostrategy.org.nz ) or email (metro@metrostrategy.org.nz ) or the freepost form “Draft Metro Strategy 2006-2012” available at the Bus Exchange, malls and libraries. People can also make their submission in person to the hearing panel.

“We hugely appreciate people taking the time to make submissions, it is great to hear from them,” says ECan chair of public passenger transport, Cr Nicky Wagner. “The success of the Metro system is built on delivering services that people want. “

Many of the features of the Metro system are due to past community input, she says. For example, the popular Orbiter and Metrostar, low-floor buses, 50 per cent increase in service frequency, the central city Bus Exchange, electronic Metrocard and real-time information at bus stops.

“Despite these improvements and almost doubling the annual number of passenger trips since 1997 to the highest level in 30 years, traffic congestion is an increasingly significant issue at peak times,” Cr Wagner said. “Three quarters of trips are now arriving within five minutes of scheduled arrival times, compared with 91 per cent last year.”

The most recent community consultation pointed to the need for improved frequency, a bigger Bus Exchange, suburban interchanges, better reliability and more marketing and information.

The current consultation asks for more specific feedback on the draft strategy ie the solutions being promoted to solve existing problems and continue to attract new bus users. These include bus priority measures on key routes (Main North Rd/Papanui Rd, Colombo St/Cashmere Rd and Queenspark) next year and another three routes 2009/10; increasing real-time information to 30 per cent of all Metro bus-stops and making it available by cellphone and the internet; bus frequency up to every ten minutes during peak periods on high-demand routes; additional express trips; an expanded central city bus exchange by 2010; suburban bus interchanges and cycle facilities at nine locations by 2012; improvements to the Metrocard system; better support for bus drivers; allowing bikes to be carried on buses on at least three routes; the use of alternative fuels on 50 per cent of buses by 2012; security cameras on all buses and all buses to be low-floor for good disability access.

Light rail, dial-a-ride services, additional cross-suburban services and park-and-ride schemes are also topics which are up for discussion.

Paying for possible improvements may require further consultation with the community. Currently bus fares pay for about half of the cost of the bus ride; government funding covers a quarter and a targeted rate on householders is the final quarter.

ENDS

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