Governors Bay bus route unlikely due to uncertainty over funding

Photo: Environment Canterbury
Photo: Environment Canterbury
A long-requested bus for Governors Bay is looking doubtful as Environment Canterbury reels in ambitions for route extensions.

For many years, residents have been wanting public transport access to the bay through Dyers Pass Rd and some hoped a new bus route would be included in ECan’s Long Term Plan.

Christchurch South councillor Vicky Southworth believes the Government is unlikely to allocate enough public transport funding for a Governors Bay extension to go ahead.

“This time it’s probably unlikely. Not least because we haven’t got confirmation from the Government as to what funding they’ll put in,” Southworth said.

Fifteen per cent of Canterbury’s public transport is funded by fares, with remaining costs split evenly between ECan and the NZ Transport Agency.

ECan will finalise its long term plan in late June and NZTA will not disclose funding availability for network extensions until September.

Governors Bay Community Association chair John Bannock was unsurprised by the route’s likely absence from the Long Term Plan.

“From Governors Bay’s perspective, they’d be struggling to be less ambitious than they already have been.”

The community association and other residents have submitted in favour of a bus route since before the earthquakes.

Bannock questioned whether the potential lack of funding from NZTA was a legitimate excuse.

“It’s a convenient story to tell at the moment, in spite of a lack of action in the past.”

Southworth expressed support for a Governors Bay route, but said the regional council will likely prioritise other network extensions.

“I’m the deputy chair of the transport and urban development committee. I feel I have to take a pragmatic view.”

The other Christchurch South councillor, Paul Dietsche said more investigation was needed on the proposed route and did not wish to comment further.

Ngāi Tahu councillor Nuk Korako, who is affiliated with Rāpaki Marae, did not respond to request for comment.

An ECan spokesperson said there are no figures available for the potential cost of a Governors Bay route extension.

During public feedback on the ECan draft Long Term Plan, Governors Bay Jetty Trust chair Prue Miller submitted in favour of extending the route to the bay.

Miller understands a lack of funding may present a barrier for ECan this year, but hopes it will be included in the next plan review.

“It is very disappointing because we’ve been living in hope for many years.”