You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
Environment Canterbury has funded the trial to continue until June when the service will be reviewed.
Currently, average patronage is sitting at an average of 28 boardings a day across the inbound and outbound service.
ECan general manager public transport Stewart Gibbon said this was significantly less than expected from a Southbridge/Leeston community survey of 200 people conducted in 2019 to see if there was demand. Almost all respondents had supported the service.
Gibbon said with appropriate community support, the trial service had potential to provide a valuable, sustainable transport option for people working in the city. To keep the service viable, customer numbers needed to increase.
“Having enough customers while keeping the service affordable for both users and ratepayers is challenging,” he said.
“There needs to be around an additional 15 boardings per day on average to sustain the service.”
The bus runs Monday to Friday for people to commute to the city from Leeston, Doyleston, Irwell and Springston.
School children make up almost 60 per cent of current patronage, with most boarding in Southbridge, Leeston and Doyleston, and being dropped off at central city locations between Hornby and the Bus Interchange.
“Children are the main users of the service and we are aware that those students may rely on the service to get to and from school, but the service needs to be sustainable to justify a community charge through rates to continue it,” Gibbon said.
Public transport is funded through targeted rates from the community, government grants to match local rates, and user fares.