Greens Welcome Back Metro Bus Services

Press Release – Green Party

GREENS WELCOME BACK METRO BUS SERVICES The Green Party welcomes the opening of the Central Station bus exchange in Lichfield Street and the return of Metro bus services to part of central Christchurch.
FROM:
David Moorhouse, Candidate for Christchurch Central
Eugenie Sage, Candidate for Selwyn

MEDIA RELEASE 25 October 2011

GREENS WELCOME BACK METRO BUS SERVICES

The Green Party welcomes the opening of the Central Station bus exchange in Lichfield Street and the return of Metro bus services to part of central Christchurch.

“CERA has shut Christchurch residents out of the central city for too long. Removing the barrier fences to allow buses and the public to return to Lichfield St and the new open air Central Station is welcome,” Christchurch central Green Party candidate, David Moorhouse said.

“Having one central city exchange again will be more convenient for bus users than the two termini which operated at Hagley and Bealey Avenues.”

“Post ‘quakes roads have become congested with private vehicles. Getting the city moving again requires a greater commitment to improving bus services and infrastructure. Incentives such as reduced fares could help encourage people to get back on board,“ he said.

“Creating many more dedicated busways on city roads would reduce bus travel times making buses a more attractive option,” Selwyn Green candidate, Eugenie Sage said.

Every full laden bus potentially represents 35 less cars on the road, reducing congestion and making it easier to get around.

“A strong public transport network is crucial to rebuilding Christchurch as an attractive, liveable and sustainable city. We urgently need to do more to get people in the habit of using buses again. Patronage on most Metro services has dropped by up to 50%,” she said.

“The lack of any specific recovery plan or programme for public transport is a huge gap in CERA’s draft recovery strategy. CERA needs to work with Environment Canterbury, the City Council and Selwyn and Waimakariri district councils to plan sustainable transport solutions across greater Christchurch,” Ms Sage said.
“CERA’s draft recovery strategy includes recovery plans for funding and finance, economic recovery, building and infrastructure, education renewal, and built heritage but no public transport recovery plan,” she said.

“CERA has active programmes for demolition, seismic and geotechnical research, central government services, sports, recreation, arts and culture, “worst affected suburbs”, and “building community resilience” but no programme specifically directed at increasing bus patronage or strengthening the city’s public transport network.

“The Green Party will invest more in smart public transport. Increased government funding would allow Environment Canterbury to establish more services on new routes to get people where they want to go,” she said.
Background
Patronage on Environment Canterbury’s Metro services dropped by up to 50 % on most bus routes in the six months to 30 June 2011. Total bus trips for the 2010/11 year (17.21 million) were only 75% of those for the 2009/10 year (19.34 million) and only 67 % of the patronage target set for 2010/11 in the Greater Christchurch Metro Strategy. See Environment Canterbury Annual Report for 2010/11, Public Passenger Transport.
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