Reporting back

Passenger trips per year

Date: 01 July 2018
Reporting Frequency: Annually
Category: Transport and Urban Development


20 million passenger trips per year by 2020.


The 2018/2019 year ended with a total patronage figure of 13.8 million, 69% of the 2020 target.

About this goal

20 million passenger trips per year by 2020 is Environment Canterbury’s target for passenger boardings in greater Christchurch and Timaru. 

Why does it matter?

Patronage numbers have not yet returned to pre-earthquake levels in Greater Christchurch. As well, the slower than expected rebuild of the city has resulted in people working out of the CBD and finding alternative modes of travel. While public transport use is now at 80% of pre-earthquake levels, the workforce in the central city is only 60% of what it was in 2010.

As we start to see real progress in the Christchurch city rebuild and employers returning to the CBD, patronage increased by 1% during 2018/2019.

The 2018/2019 year ended with a total patronage figure of 13.8 million. The challenge remains to win back former customers and to attract new ones who have yet to experience the range of services on offer. Those who travel on the buses rate the service highly and many rely upon it as their main form of transport.

Traveller numbers in Timaru are also on the decline as short distance trips and private car ownership continue to have an impact. Environment Canterbury and the Timaru District Council are investigating whether an on-demand, ride-sharing public transport system could work as a viable alternative to the current service, so that we can continue to offer public transport in Timaru.

What's being done?

To continue to offer community-based public transport services via bus, ferry, Total Mobility and vehicle trusts, we need to return the programme to financial viability. The 2018–28 Regional Public Transport Plan articulates the future vision, strategy and tactical short-term actions for public transport, because for the system to operate well, land-use, policy, infrastructure, service delivery and the travel behaviour of our customers must all align.

Find out more

Monthly and year-to-date information is available in our Joint Committee Agendas.

Read more about the public transport services we provide.

Read the Regional Public Transport Plan - 2018 (PDF File, 6.93MB)).

Read the On Demand Public Transport proposal for Timaru.

Visit for up-to-date travel information.

Find out how ratepayer funding supports this work with our Rates Tool.


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