Public transport in Christchurch
The new Bus Interchange in August 2015
|Service type||Bus services|
|Fuel type||Diesel, biodiesel|
|Operator||Red Bus Ltd
Go Bus Christchurch
Black Cat Ltd
- 1 Overview
- 2 Operations
- 3 Bus services
- 4 Other transport services
- 5 Cultural references
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Since deregulation of the urban bus market in 1991 the Canterbury Regional Council (now branded Environment Canterbury) has taken responsibility for the tendering, planning and administration of public transport in Christchurch. Over the course of that time improvements and changes have shaped the predominantly bus based public transport system including the introduction of services such as the Orbiter. Originally branded as CanRide this was replaced in 2003 with the introduction of the Metro brand and the eventual Metrocard.
Ticketing and fares are, with some exceptions, standard across the city's network. The electronic Metrocard provides a discount off regular fares. Under 18s receive a discount, and senior citizens travel free on off-peak services (9:00am to 3:00pm and after 6:30pm weekdays, all day weekends and public holidays).
'Real-time' bus arrival times are displayed on electronic displays at bus stops, online and mobile (cellphone) WAP.
The February 2011 Christchurch earthquake resulted in significant changes to the Metro bus network with the two key changes. The first change was the removal and or reorganisation of many routes due to the closure of the central city, road damage along routes, or reduced patronage. The second change occurred in December 2012 with the shift of the bus network from a radial network to a hub and spoke model network and the Blue Line was introduced. This resulted in many services being localised to hubs with connecting core services into the Central City and Cross Town.
More changes were made in December 2014, with the introduction of the Purple Line, Yellow Line and Orange Line, and more suburb to suburb routes.
The local bus service is marketed as Metro and designed, specified, put out to tender and subsidised by Environment Canterbury. All bus operators are required to display the required external Metro branding to vehicles under contract to ECan.
Christchurch City Council provides roading infrastructure and street furniture such as signs and seats and regulates parking at bus stops, and is also owner of Red Bus Ltd through its holding company Christchurch City Holdings. The city council previously funded the zero-fare The Shuttle service which ended after the 2011 earthquake.
The city council provided the previous central city Bus Exchange in November 2000, which was damaged and closed after the 22 February 2011 earthquake. The previous Bus Exchange in the city centre served as the principal bus interchange point and passenger hub for the Metro network. The Exchange had attracted interest from other worldwide city authorities investigating how to improve their bus services. Since the Bus Exchange opened in 2000, the number of people using the bus service had doubled.
With the closure of the central city, two separate temporary central city facilities on the outer fringes of the CBD were established; one in Bealey Avenue, and one in Hagley Avenue. On 25 October 2011, bus services shifted to the new Central Station between Lichfield and Tuam Streets (in the block between Colombo and Durham Streets), which served as a longer-term temporary city bus stop. The expectation was that Central Station was to be in use for "up to two years". The Christchurch Central Recovery Plan of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) was unveiled on 30 July 2012, which had an indicative time-frame for a new Bus Interchange building to be open by June 2014. Central Station was in use until 25 May 2015, when Christchurch's new $53 million Bus Interchange building opened. Part of the hub and spoke model network is that many passengers need to interchange to other buses at suburban centres. The first bus lounge, which provides indoor waiting facilities, was planned for Riccarton Road. ECan requested it to be open in December 2014, but Christchurch city councillors found it difficult to make the required decisions. The opening was initially delayed to April 2015, and the city council then gave itself a new deadline of August 2015, and then said it would be open in November 2015. It wasn't until 14 December 2015 that the Riccarton Road lounge, on the corner with Division Street, finally opened.
The Christchurch City Council also provides bus lanes which operational during peak commuting hours on some routes. The routes have been controversial with some business owners concerned at the loss of parking from outside their businesses during the lanes operational times, but the lanes have improved bus travel times, schedule adherence and have resulted in an increase in passenger numbers.
Vehicle safety standards are regulated by the NZ Transport Agency.
On 8 December 2014 a new bus network was launched offering three types of bus services. Five colour-coded frequent bus routes (the Metro Lines) run through Christchurch's major road corridors, connecting people to popular destinations.
City Connectors (buses with two numbers) allow people to travel from outer suburbs and satellite towns direct to the city.
Suburban Links (buses with three numbers) allow people to travel between inner suburbs, while avoiding the central city. People wanting to go to Central Station would need to transfer onto another bus at transfer points, located throughout the city.
The following services are operated under the Metro brand:
|#||Route Name||Start||Major destinations||End||Timetable||Notes|
|Or||Orbiter||Eastgate Mall||St Martins, Princess Margaret Hospital, Barrington Mall, Riccarton Mall, Canterbury University, Northlands Mall, The Palms Mall||Eastgate Mall|||
|B||Blue Line||Princess Margaret Hospital||Sydenham Shops, Central Station, Bealey Ave, Northlands Mall, Belfast, Kaiapoi||Rangiora||||
Every other service Belfast to Rangiora
|P||Purple Line||Airport||Avonhead Mall, Canterbury University, Riccarton Mall, Chch Hospital, Central Station, CPIT, Ferrymead Shops||Sumner|||
|Y||Yellow Line||Rolleston||Templeton, Hornby Hub, Church Corner, Riccarton Mall, Chch Hospital, Central Station, Fitzgerald Ave, Eastgate Mall||New Brighton||||
Every other service Rolleston to Hornby
|O||Orange Line||Halswell||Addington, Chch Hospital, Central Station, The Palms Mall, Burwood Hospital||Queenspark|||
City Connector services
|#||Route Name||Start||Major destinations||End||Timetable||Notes|
|17||Bryndwr to Hunstbury||Sheffield Crescent||Sir William Pickering Dr, Rossall St/Leinster Road, Park Tce, Central Station, Moorhouse Ave, Waltham, St Martins||Huntsbury|||
|28||Papanui to Lyttelton & Rapaki||Papanui||Northlands Mall, Cranford Street, Edgeware, Central Station, Sydenham Shops, Opawa, Heathcote, Lyttelton||Rapaki||||
Limited service Lyttelton to Rapaki
|29||Airport to City via Fendalton||Central Station||Fendalton||Airport|||
|44||Dallington via Shirley||Dallington||The Palms Mall, Shirley, Warrington St Shops||Central Station|||
|60||Hillmorton to Southshore||Aidanfield||Hillmorton, Barrington Mall, Chch Hospital, Central Station, The Palms Mall, Travis Rd, New Brighton||Southshore|||
|80||Lincoln to Parklands||Lincoln University||Lincoln Town, Prebbleton, Riccarton Mall, Chch Hospital, Central Station, Eastgate Mall||Parklands|||
|95||Waikuku and Pegasus||Waikuku Beach||Pegasus, Woodend, Kaiapoi, Belfast, Northlands, Bealey Ave, Central Station||CPIT|||
Suburban Link services
|#||Route Name||Start||Major destinations||End||Timetable||Notes|
|100||Wigram to The Palms||Halswell||Wigram, Church Corner, Canterbury University, Riccarton Mall, Merivale Mall||The Palms Mall|||
|107||Styx Mill to Northlands||Northwood Supa Centa||Northwood, Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, Styx Mill, Veitches Road||Northlands Mall|||
|108||Casebrook to Northlands Mall||Northwood||Regents Park, Casebrook, Sawyers Arms Road||Northlands Mall|||
|120||Burnside to Spreydon||Sheffield Crescent||Burnside, Canterbury University, Riccarton Mall, Addington, Spreydon||Barrington Mall|||
|125||Redwood to Westlake||Redwood||Northlands Mall, Bishpdale Mall, Airport, Avonhead Mall, Hornby Hub, Westlake||Halswell|||
|130||Hei Hei to Avonhead||Hornby Hub||Heihei, Church Corner, Riccarton Mall, Canterbury University, Avonhead Mall||Burnside High School|||
|135||Burwood Hospital to New Brighton||Marshland||Burwood Hospital, Beach Rd/Bower Ave||New Brighton|||
|140||Russley to Mt Pleasant||Hornby Hub||Russley, Church Corner, Westfield Riccarton, Moorhouse Ave, Eastgate Mall, Ferrymead Shops||Mt Pleasant|||
|145||Westmorland to Eastgate||Westmorland||Barrington Mall, St Martin Shops||Eastgate Mall|||
|150||The Palms to Spencerville||The Palms Mall||Marshland||Spencerville|||
|535||Lyttelton Eastgate Link||Lyttelton||Ferrymead Shops||Eastgate Mall|||
|820||Burnham to Lincoln||Burnham||Izone Business Park, Rolleston, Springston, Lincoln University||Lincoln|||
|960||Hornby to Rangiora||The Hub Hornby||Airport/Antarctic Centre, Silverstream||Rangiora||||No bike racks fitted|
Bikes on buses
Christchurch was the first place in New Zealand where bikes were carried on suburban buses. The trial started in November 2007 on the 35 route to Heathcote. Bike racks on buses are provided on all suburban buses now. Other towns have now followed the example, including Dunedin, Feilding, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Invercargill, New Plymouth, Taupo, Nelson and Waiheke Island.
Other transport services
There are a variety of taxi operators active in Christchurch. Operations are regulated by the New Zealand Transport Agency.
- Three bus routes are available from the airport bus stand located outside the International Arrivals Terminal;
- the Purple Line (via Avonhead & City to Sumner)
- the number 29 bus (via Fendalton to City)
- the 125 Redwood via Papanui or West lake via Hornby
- Shuttle vans provided by several operators, including most taxi companies, provide door-to-door transport to and from the Airport.
Diamond Harbour ferry
A ferry connects the suburb of Lyttelton to Diamond Harbour, a settlement on the opposite side of Lyttelton Harbour. Ferries first began crossing Lyttelton Harbour in 1888. The ferry is operated by Black Cat Ltd.
Christchurch Tramway Ltd  operates a one-way tram circuit of the central city. This is mainly marketed as a tourist attraction, but is available to local commuters with an annual season ticket. Trams were originally introduced to Christchurch in 1905, ceased operating in 1954, and returned to the newly built inner city loop in 1995, mainly as a tourist attraction.
Preliminary investigation into light rail options for Christchurch was made in 2009. Investigating options and protecting possible routes is an action point in the City Council's "A City for People Action Plan" (approved in 2010).
Commuter rail service was discontinued in the 1970s, while long distance rail travel (by KiwiRail Scenic) has been scaled back to just the Coastal Pacific and TranzAlpine services, which depart from the Christchurch Train Station in Riccarton.
In May 2014 an article on the website Stuff.co.nz stated that the Templeton Residents' Association had urged Christchurch City Council to consider the implementation of a local commuter rail network for the city. In an article dated August 2014 it was subsequently confirmed that the city council were to discuss the possibility with the NZ Transport Agency.
Christchurch's public transport system served as backdrop for Tim Veling's 2006 book "Red Bus Diary", in which the author toured the city on public buses and compiled the stories of the people he met.
- "About Metro". Metroinfo. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
- Mathewson, Nicole (17 October 2011). "Temporary hub will 'restore vibrancy' to city". The Press. p. A3. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
- Cairns, Lois (30 July 2012). "Rebuild plan for Christchurch unveiled". The Press. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
- Christchurch Central Recovery Plan. Christchurch: Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority. 30 July 2012. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-478-39718-5.
- Meier, Cecile (25 May 2015). "Christchurch bus interchange opens". The Press. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
- "Bus lounge date missed fourth time". The Press. 4 December 2015. p. A4. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
- "Riccarton Rd bus lounge now open". The Press. 15 December 2015. p. A5. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
- "Metro Network" (PDF). Metroinfo. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
- "Bike-carrying racks on more bus routes from November". Christchurch: Environment Canterbury. 29 January 2009. Retrieved 8 February 2010.
- "Dunedin bus network changes effective from 1 July 2015 | Otago Regional Council". www.orc.govt.nz. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
- "Bike racks, additional routes and services for Feilding | Scoop News". www.scoop.co.nz. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
- "Bus Tender (Contract EW12/11) Tender Evaluation Report" (PDF). Gisborne District Council.
- "Bikes join ride on local buses". Hawke's Bay Today. 11 September 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
- "Buses – Invercargill City Council". Invercargill City Council. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
- "Bikes on buses » Taranaki Regional Council". www.trc.govt.nz. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
- "Taupo Connector". Waikato Regional Council. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
- "Bus service a winner". Nelson Mail. 8 March 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
- "Bikes & public transport". at.govt.nz. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
- Douglass, Malcolm (2006). A Wheel on Each Corner: The History of the IPENZ Transportation Group 1956–2006. IPENZ Transportation Group. p. 12.
- "Christchurch City council urged to look at commuter rail | News | Stuff.co.nz". I.stuff.co.nz. 21 May 2015. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
- "Council keen to investigate commuter rail for northern Christchurch | News | Stuff.co.nz". I.stuff.co.nz. 14 August 2015. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
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