'Concerning for weekday commuters': Christchurch bus services to be reduced

From 6 December, 17 of MetroBus' 28 services will operate on their Saturday timetable from Monday...
From 6 December, 17 of MetroBus' 28 services will operate on their Saturday timetable from Monday to Friday. Photo: Newsline
Commuters in Christchurch are urged to check their bus timetables before several services move to reduced timetables next week.

MetroBus announced on Wednesday that one of its operators does not have enough staff to continue operating the weekday timetable.

From December 6, 17 of their 28 bus services will operate on their Saturday timetable from Monday to Friday.

Stewart Gibbon. Photo: Supplied
Stewart Gibbon. Photo: Supplied
Environment Canterbury public transport general manager Stewart Gibbon said the cancellations were unexpected.

"We are moving to a Saturday timetable for selected routes on our network ... to minimise unexpected cancellations of services and provide customers with a more reliable timetable."

MetroBus said it does not know how long its services will be reduced, but expects the shortage to be a long-term issue.

"We understand that this change will be concerning for weekday commuters who use affected services and want to reiterate that we will be working closely with the operator to restore services once there is enough staff capacity," Gibbon said.

The Diamond Harbour Ferry and school bus services will not be affected.

Canterbury is the latest region to feel the pinch of a national driver shortage, which Gibbon said had presented challenges across the country "for some years now".

"Our operators are reporting that immigration and a very competitive labour market are factors contributing to the driver shortage across New Zealand, and unfortunately, Canterbury is no longer immune to this issue," he said.

Following bus driver pay strikes and lockouts in Wellington in April this year, the Environment Canterbury Council voted for drivers in the MetroBus system to receive the 2021 Living Wage.

"We want to be able to support our operators to provide a wage that reflects the important role that drivers have in providing a positive experience across the network," Gibbon said.

Key updates will be posted on Metro's website and Facebook, put in their online newsletter, and there is on-street signage at bus stops.

The affected routes are:

  • 1 - Rangiora/Cashmere
  • 5 - Rolleston/New Brighton
  • 7 - Halswell/Queenspark
  • 17 - Bryndwr/Huntsbury
  • 44 - Shirley/Westmorland
  • 60 - Hillmorton/Southshore
  • 80 - Lincoln/Parklands
  • 95 - Pegasus/Waikuku
  • 97 - Rangiora/Pegasus
  • 100 - Wigram/The Palms
  • 107 - Styx Mill/Northlands Mall
  • 120 - Burnside/Spreydon
  • 125 - Redwood/Westlake
  • 130 - Hei Hei/Avonhead
  • 135 - New Brighton/The Palms
  • 820 - Burnham/Lincoln
  • The Orbiter



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