Passenger numbers on Christchurch Metro buses are starting to recover and the outlook is a lot brighter than first anticipated.
“Our figures show patronage is now starting to recover; the numbers for April to June this year are up 35.16% on the same period in 2011,” says Environment Canterbury Director Operations Wayne Holton-Jeffreys. “We’re confident this trend will continue, especially with the improvements we’re making to the Metro network.”
It is heartening news in the face of figures reported at the Environment Canterbury Performance, Audit and Risk committee meeting today. For the year ending 30 June 2012, there was a deficit of nearly $3 million. Fares received came in $8.72 million under budget, though this was offset somewhat by additional grants from the New Zealand Transport Agency.
“A deficit is never a good thing but we’re reassured that the Metro system has performed better than first expected following the earthquakes.
“Forecasted figures following the earthquakes were predicting things were going to be a lot worse than what they are. Our income is $803,000 better off than what was estimated for the past year, despite the heavy snow in June.
“We have also come in $1.15 million under budget with our expenditure. This is mainly to do with the savings we’ve made in rearranging the Metro public transport services to cater to our shifting market.”
Wayne Holton-Jeffreys explains that while the recovery has been better than expected, these figures highlight how unsustainable it is for Environment Canterbury to continue running Metro bus services the way they have been.
The Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP), open for consultation until 3 August, looks at the way public transport services are delivered across the region and proposes changes to reflect current and possible future passenger travel demands.
“We have the chance to refocus and develop an efficient public transport network that best meets community needs. By doing this we believe it will encourage even more people back on to buses.”