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Every reason to catch a bus - ECan councillor

December 18, 2006


Every reason to catch a bus - ECan councillor

Summer and the Christmas party season is a good opportunity to catch a bus to town or the beach, says Environment Canterbury councillor Nicky Wagner, chair of public passenger transport portfolio.

“Even if you don’t normally catch a bus, now is a great time to try it out. There are no driving hassles, no parking fees, you can enjoy the ride and get to know your own neighbourhood from a completely different vantage point,” Cr Wagner says.

“The Metro bus drivers are second to none and they, tohether with the Metroinfor telephonists and Bus Exchange staff, are working through the holiday period to keep the system up and running for Christchurch people and visitors to enjoy,” she says.

Cr Wagner notes that a recent transport study found the Christchurch Metro system was tops in terms of growth in popularity and numbers from 1990 – 2005, comparing Australian and New Zealand cities. “I was not surprised by these findings. Environment Canterbury has worked hard with bus users and non bus users to find ways to make services appealing and reliable and to take people where they want to go – not just in and out of town, but also around the suburbs on the Orbiter and Metrostar. We have also ensured that Metro buses and the Diamond Harbour Ferry are fitted with vandal-proof security cameras. The Metrocard is a great success story on its own. “
Cr Wagner pointed out that the Metrocard, which reduces the costs of travelling to a capped daily or weekly figure ($19 weekly for most of Christchurch), has a number of advantages for Christchurch bus passengers:

- It integrates public transport payments across three bus companies and the Diamond Harbour ferry – a first for New Zealand.

- Over 171,000 Metrocards have been issued and 136,000 are “live” or regularly used.

- Up to 74 per cent of all bus travellers use the Metrocard. Before it was introduced around 29 per cent of bus travellers used the pre-purchased monthly or multi-trip paper tickets. If you lost that ticket there was no way to get the credit back. If you lose your Metrocard and report it, once confirmed you can have your balance transferred to a new card and the old card annulled.

- Metrocard has reduced boarding times per passenger from 7.5 seconds to 3.5 seconds. In turn this helps make services more reliable and on time.

- People can check their Metrocard balance on the www.metroinfo.org.nz website, which shows the last recorded transaction and balance so they know if they need to top up their balance before they leave work, home or school.



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