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Christchurch: Working towards a great transport system

2 August 2012

Working together towards a great transport system

A meeting of Christchurch City Council’s Environment and Infrastructure Committee today considered the Council’s submission to Environment Canterbury’s Draft Regional Public Transport Plan.

The finalised submission was signed-off later in the day by the Council Submissions Panel and will be presented to ECan by Committee Chair Claudia Reid.

Cr Reid says there is a lot of enthusiasm about public transport options in Christchurch and a willingness to work with all parties involved to ensure the best outcomes.

“Right now, there are four major transport planning initiatives underway in the city. We must ensure that all the organisations involved are aligned and that the result is a great transport system for the city,” she says.

Since the earthquakes, bus patronage has dropped significantly, especially on services to the Central City, resulting in a financial shortfall for Ecan. Ecan’s Draft Regional Public Transport Plan proposes a “hub and spokes” approach to the bus route system which will result in changes to the bus network and reduce operating costs.

Cr Reid says the proposals outlined in the draft plan would require significant funding from the Council to build new suburban interchanges and related infrastructure. The Council is responsible for providing infrastructure for public transport, but not running the service or setting the routes.

“As a result of this financial impact, the Committee wanted to ensure that the proposals set out in ECan’s draft plan were based on robust information, backed by proven research. We’d like to have a wider conversation around the city’s public transport issues and talk through all the options, including the possibility of cost-sharing, infrastructure and even the consideration of rail,” Cr Reid says.

The Council’s submission to Ecan’s draft plan recommends:
• Greater flexibility and monitoring to test the new approach proposed by ECan and to minimise infrastructure investment required by Christchurch City Council.
• That the draft plan be considered a “short-term” plan only, to address earthquake-related issues in the interim, while a longer term strategic vision is developed for the city.
• That ECan and the Council work together further to agree on planning, infrastructure solutions and prioritisation.
• More public consultation before the Council commits to providing new infrastructure, such as suburban bus interchanges.
• That the level of service reductions for the community are minimised.

ENDS

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