With plans to drive further bus service improvements in Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown well underway, it’s a busy time for public transport in the southern region.
Councils are also working to complete their public transport programmes for the 2015-18 National Land Transport Programme that will be launched in July.
In Christchurch, the new central city bus interchange is scheduled to open this winter. An Accessible City Project – the first stage will see Tuam street change into a one-way between Hagley Avenue and Durham Street (supporting the operation of the new bus interchange).
Bus priority measures will be provided for services heading to the West and South West from the bus interchange, and there are plans for a “super stop” to be established near Christchurch Hospital.
Construction work began recently on these changes.
The final implementation phase of the hubs and spokes bus network was put in place late last year. The new network provides the highest level of service on five core routes, covering Belfast to Cashmere, Hornby to New Brighton, the Airport to Sumner, Queenspark to Halswell and an Orbital service. These routes have an all-day frequent service, with connecting local and feeder services at suburban bus hubs.
Christchurch City Council, with input from Environment Canterbury and the Transport Agency is developing a programme of improvements to support the implementation of hubs and spokes bus services, in particular improving the reliability of bus services on core routes.
Meanwhile, the Otago Regional Council adopted its new Regional Public Transport Plan recently. It proposed a variety of measures to improve bus services in Dunedin. These range from integrated fares to a more simplified route structure, which allows bus users to easily transfer to other services via a new central city bus hub.
All of these measures are designed to grow patronage and improve the value for money from the investment made in public transport services in the southern region.
The 50 tonne roof of the new bus exchange being lifted into place.