A new plan which will be out for public consultation next week could change the way bus services are delivered in post-earthquake Christchurch.
The Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP) looks at the way public transport services are delivered across the region and proposes changes to reflect current and possible future passenger travel demands.
The purpose of the RPTP is to specify how Environment Canterbury puts in place the public transport component of the Canterbury Regional Land Transport Strategy. It describes the public transport services which will be provided in the region. Regional councils were required to adopt their RPTP by 1 January 2012, but because of the earthquakes this was extended to 1 January 2013 in Canterbury.
Environment Canterbury Programme Manager Rob Woods says the earthquakes have produced significant changes to both patronage and the routes of some services in Christchurch and the recommendations in the report reflect these changes.
“Fewer people now want to go into the central city and more people are having to travel to the suburban centres. Bus patronage is also down compared to pre-earthquake levels.’’
The RPTP suggests a different service model which will make bus travel around the city more user-friendly and will better serve passenger requirements.
“It is becoming unsustainable for us to continue to run bus services the way that we have been. We now have the opportunity to refocus the network so we can give a similar level of coverage across the city in a more efficient way. We believe it will get more people back on to buses,’’ says Mr Woods.
“We need to achieve sustainability for both bus passengers and our ratepayers. A key to the effective rebuilding of Christchurch is to have an efficient operating public transport network which best meets community needs. The RPTP will help to future-proof the public transport for the city.”
The Draft RPTP suggests matching resources to travel demand, making services more direct and simpler to use, while maintaining access to key destinations throughout the city.
Consultation for the RPTP will begin this week and continue until 3 August. A copy of the plan will be available from Environment Canterbury (0800 ECINFO). More details and submission forms will be available on www.ecan.govt.nz/rptp from Monday 2 July.