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Environment Canterbury says the Rangiora (91) and Kaiapoi (92) services have enjoyed a solid 18 months, since they were introduced in January 2021, despite the various challenges from Covid and driver shortages.
‘‘The past year has seen more people working from home and reluctant to use public transport due to an increase in community transmission of Covid-19,’’ an ECan spokesperson said.
‘‘Despite these circumstances, May 2022 was the best month for the Kaiapoi service since it began, and the Rangiora service has also performed well during May and June.’’
The Kaiapoi service had 2380 passengers in May, while the Rangiora service had well over 3816 passengers in May and 3382 in June.
Waimakariri Mayor Dan Gordon is a regular user of ECan’s bus service.
‘‘I use it myself when heading into Christchurch in the morning for regular council-related meetings and it’s fast, convenient, affordable and on-time - all things that a great bus service should be.
‘‘It’s great to see growth in the service from Kaiapoi and generally to see that more residents are using bus services.
‘‘For anyone who commutes to Christchurch for work, I’d strongly encourage you to give this service a go.’’
Overall bus patronage for Greater Christchurch for the year to June 2022 was 8.7 million boardings, which was just two-thirds of pre-Covid service levels.
In contrast the MyWay bus service in Timaru has enjoyed patronage at 5.6% higher than pre-Covid levels, which will be good news for advocates hoping to bring the service to Waimakariri.
Last month, MyWay recorded its second highest number of rides in a day with 614, while daily average rides ranged from 490 to 580.
Similar on-demand trials in Greater Christchurch were being considered as part of ECan’s Long-Term Plan and the Canterbury Regional Public Transport Plan, the ECan spokesperson said.
-By David Hill
Local Democracy Reporter
■ Public interest journalism funded through New Zealand on Air.