AGENDA ITEM NO: (leave blank)
STAGE 2 OF THE GREATER
CHRISTCHURCH METRO NETWORK POST-EARTHQUAKE
DATE OF MEETING:
27 September 2012
Public Passenger Transport
Passenger Services Reviews
Edward Wright, Operations
David Stenhouse, Manager Passenger
Planner Passenger Services
Wayne Holton-Jeffreys, Director Operations
To consider the proposed bus routes changes that make up Stage 2 of the Greater
Christchurch Metro Network Redevelopment Project. ATTACHMENTS
Following the February 2011 earthquake usage of the Greater Christchurch Metro Network
has dropped significantly. From July 2011 to June 2012 11,221,807 trips were recorded,
compared to 17,209,745 from July 2009 to June 2010, representing a decline in patronage of
35%. This decline in patronage led to an operating deficit of $5.5 million in the 2011/12
financial year. Central Government has an expectation that public transport services should
recover 50% of their costs from fare revenue, whereas the Greater Christchurch network had
a commerciality ratio of 32% in the 2011/12 financial year.
A number of changes have already been made to the Greater Christchurch network in order
to reduce operating costs. In 2011, as part of Stage 1 of the Post-Earthquake Network
Redevelopment Project, services that performed very poorly prior to the February 2011
earthquake were discontinued, along with services that were unable to resume for a
significant period of time due to road damage.
Detail about Stage 2 of the Network Redevelopment Project was included in a report to
Council at the meeting on 29 March 2012. This report noted that there were two main options
for reshaping the Greater Christchurch Network and reducing operating costs:
Retain the existing network structure
and reduce service levels.
Change the network model
to a hub and spoke type model to more efficiently service
the market at a reduced overall cost.
On 29 March 2012, Council advised that the preferred approach was Option B and approved
the planning of further stages of the Network Redevelopment Project. Stage 2 (sometimes
referred to as stage 2B) of this project is planned for implementation in late 2012 and is the
subject of this report. It is now planned to introduce the final changes (Stage 3) in the
2014/15 financial year.
The full implementation of the Network Redevelopment Project (Stages 2 and 3) allows the
coverage of the network to remain largely unchanged whilst reducing cost through
streamlining routes and removing unnecessary route duplication. This involves a reduction in
the number of Metro routes which travel to and through the city centre. Services which do not
travel to the city centre would connect with those that do at suburban hubs. A network
reorganisation of this nature also allows for services to be redesigned to better meet the
needs of the ‘new’ Christchurch, including providing increased access to major new
employment locations, and more options for cross-suburban travel.
Routes included in this stage account for 28% of the patronage and 35% of the kilometres
operated in the Greater Christchurch Metro Network (as of February 2012).
As noted above, the current patronage levels and fare recovery of the Greater Christchurch
Metro Network means that some changes are a necessity so that financial viability can begin
to be restored. As also noted above, the two main ways of achieving this are through
retaining the existing network structure and reducing service levels, or through changing the
network model to reduce costs whilst retaining coverage.
Staff recommend that the proposed route changes are accepted, together with the changes
detailed in this report that have resulted from the consultation. As the Stage 2 changes are a
pilot they allow assessment of the comparative value of this new network model, and the
decision about whether to roll out the model to the rest of the network can be made
accordingly. CONSISTENCY WITH COUNCIL POLICY
The Regional Public Transport Plan 2012, which is also being considered at this Council
meeting, sets out the policies for the operation of public transport services in the Canterbury
Region. The development of this plan has occurred at the same time as the network
redevelopment project, so the proposed route changes are very well aligned with the policies
of the plan. VIEWS OF AFFECTED PARTIES
The people affected most by the proposed changes are the users of the Metro network (both
current and potential), and accordingly a significant level of public consultation about the
proposed changes has been carried out. The outcome of this consultation is detailed below.
Staff have also directly engaged with a number of other affected parties, including the
existing bus and ferry operators in the region; the New Zealand Transport Agency; affected
territorial authorities; and other stakeholder groups (such as disability advocate groups). As
well as sharing their views directly with staff, a number of these parties have also made
submissions as part of the public consultation process.
Outcome of Public Consultation
The consultation period ran from June 30 to August 3 2012. In total 714 responses were
received during the public consultation period, of which 11 responses were duplicates or
additional feedback from the same person. 588 of these responses were via the set feedback
form included in the consultation document, which included several set questions.
The feedback form included the question “In general, do you support the proposed
changes?” 216 (37%) of people answered “yes”, 310 people (53%) answered “no”, while 61
people did not answer this question or gave an ambiguous answer. The number of people
who have indicated that they do not support the proposal is higher than desirable, but it is not
a surprising outcome given the scale of the proposed changes. Staff believe that a number of
the concerns raised by people who did not support the proposal can be mitigated through
changes to some of the proposed routes. The feedback received from each area, and
possible changes to routes in response to this feedback is detailed below. However, in many
cases the responses made it clear that the only thing they would directly support was a
retention of the existing route structure in its entirety, something which is not possible given
the current financial constraints.
As part of the consultation process, six drop-in sessions were run at four different locations in
Christchurch and Rangiora. These were well attended by members of the public seeking
clarification about the proposals and informally giving their feedback.
There was strong support shown for a number of the proposals consulted on. In particular,
the new high frequency service between Belfast and Princess Margaret Hospital was well
received. There was also support for the extensions of the existing routes 28 and 60 to new
destinations in the north and the south of the city respectively. Waimakariri District
68 submissions and a petition were received that discussed the proposed changes in the
Waimakariri District. The largest area of concern related to the discontinuation of the direct
public transport link between Woodend and Rangiora.
Since the Northern Star group of services were introduced in 2006, the 92, 912, 913 services
have provided a link between Woodend and Rangiora. Together these services offer an
average frequency of one service every hour between the two towns. The cost recovery of
these services has been consistently poor, and a service review conducted prior to the
February 2011 earthquake had proposed their removal (this service review was not
completed due to the earthquake). In May 2012, and the number of people boarding these
services in Woodend averaged less than one person per trip.
A number of the submissions received have noted the strong historical and current links
between Woodend and Rangiora, and it is clear that most Woodend residents prefer to travel
to Rangiora rather than Kaiapoi to do their shopping and access medical facilities, etc.
However, the link to Kaiapoi is also important to residents, as it connects with the main
service to Christchurch. The route to Kaiapoi has a stronger potential for future growth,
particularly as it will encompass Pegasus Town in the future.
The Waimakariri District Council, along with all of its Community Boards, made a submission
to the review suggesting that Environment Canterbury should consider the retention of a
service at peak times, as it is suggested that current usage at these times was higher than at
other times. However, further analysis of passenger loadings and boardings has not borne
out this suggestion, and instead there does not appear to be any strong pattern in the current
usage of the service.
The Woodend Community Association suggested routing the main Kaiapoi and Rangiora
service (route 1) via Woodend at off-peak times. However, this would mean that the route
within Rangiora differs depending on the time of day, creating legibility issues. It would also
compromise the strong existing catchment in the southern part of Rangiora.
Given the usage of these services over the past six years, it is suggested that operating a
large bus on a regular schedule between these towns is not the solution. Environment
Canterbury has initiated discussions with the North Canterbury Minibus Trust about whether
they might be able to offer a service between the two towns, on a pre-booked basis. Initial
discussions have indicated that this is likely to be possible subject to the approval of the
Trust Board. In addition to any new service that may be possible, passengers will also
continue to be able to use Metro services between the two towns by changing buses in
Another issue raised in some submissions was that the 92/912/913 services also currently
loop around the Rangiora area after they travel in from Woodend, and the withdrawal of
these services will reduce options for traveling from the outskirts of Rangiora to the town
centre. Again it is suggested that the North Canterbury Minibus Trust may be able to provide
a more suitable service in the future to current passengers affected by this change.
Some submitters also expressed concern that the proposed routes did not cover some of the
new subdivisions being built on the outskirts of both Rangiora and Kaiapoi. The provision of
services to new subdivision areas will be an ongoing issue in the coming years, and a
service review that considers these issues specifically will be conducted at an appropriate
time in the future. Summary:
It is proposed that all changes put forward for consultation in the Waimakariri District are
implemented without any further alteration. Northwest of Christchurch
The key issue raised in this area was the proposed replacement of the two direct services
from the Sheffield Crescent/Sir William Pickering Dr business area to the central city.
Currently there are services via Wairakei Rd/Rossall St and via Burnside/Riccarton to this
The Wairakei Rd/Rossall St service was proposed to be replaced with two new services, one
from Sheffield Crescent to Northlands Mall, and the other from the central city to Northlands
via Rossall St. The majority of responses received opposed these services, although a small
number of submissions did note support for the additional links to Northlands Mall.
Given this feedback, it is now proposed to retain the direct service from the Sheffield
Crescent/Sir William Pickering Dr business area to the central city via Wairakei Rd. In
addition to the feedback received, a review of the proposed services conducted for
Environment Canterbury by the Traffic Design Group has highlighted the importance of this
business area as it now has the largest number of employees of any single area in the city.
The number of people working in this area who are currently using Metro services is low, so
it is proposed that the route will travel the whole way along Sir William Pickering Dr, and we
will work with businesses in the area to develop workplace travel plans that present public
transport as a strong option for staff.
There was also strong feedback on the proposal to replace the service from this area via
Burnside and Riccarton to the central city with a new route that travels from Sheffield
Crescent to Barrington via Riccarton, Addington and Somerfield. However users of this
service are still easily able to connect to wide range of Metro services to the central city at
Another area of concern raised in some submissions was in regard to the Metro services
provided in the Bishopdale area, and in particular that no services would continue to travel
directly to the city centre. Staff have looked into possible options, but given the current levels
of Metro usage in this area we do not believe that any changes to the original proposal are
It is proposed that:
Route 17 should run from the Sir William Pickering Dr/Sheffield Crescent area to the
central city via Wairakei Rd and Rossall St;
Route 131 is renumbered as route 119, but otherwise remains the same as proposed
in the consultation;
Route 120 remains the same as proposed in the consultation.
North of Christchurch
Residents of the Northwood area raised concerns about the withdrawal of the current service
that runs directly along Northwood Boulevard, the need to walk out to the Northwood Supa
Centa to catch the new high frequency service, and about the proposed use of two roads
which buses do not currently travel along. To alleviate some of these concerns, it is proposed
to extend the service which was to terminate in Styx Mill Rd to Northwood. This will give
Northwood residents more options and mean that all roads that currently have a Metro
service retain a service.
As a result of feedback from the Casebrook area, slight changes to both of the Metro routes
that travel through this area are proposed so that they balance directness and coverage
better. It is also proposed to fully integrate the Redwood service with The Comet service.
A considerable level of feedback was received from the St Albans and Shirley areas
regarding access to the central city from the proposed route 132. As a result of the feedback
it is now proposed that the revised St Albans route (118) to terminate at Edgeware Village,
where a good connection with route 28 to the city centre will be provided. In Shirley, it is
proposed that route 45 will now travel via the affected streets so that they retain a service
which travels to the city centre (this altered route will be called route 44 to minimise any
confusion about the change). Summary
It is proposed that:
Route 108 is now proposed to run to Northwood, and the two routes in the
Northwood area will only use roads currently used by Metro services;
Routes 107 (included as part of route 17 in the consultation material) and 108 will be
altered slightly to achieve a better balance of directness and coverage;
What is called route 122 in the consultation material will be fully integrated into the
Route 118 (part of route 132 in the consultation material) will run between Northlands
Mall and Edgeware Village only, instead of continuing to Shirley and The Palms; and
Route 45 will be replaced with the new route 44 which will travel via parts of Shirley
that were included in route 132 in the consultation.
Northeast of Christchurch
A number of submissions, including one from the Burwood/Pegasus Community Board,
commented about the unsuitability of the use of Joy St and Golf Links Rd for Metro services
due to traffic calming measures which have recently been installed. It is now proposed that
route 146 (called route 133 in the consultation period) should travel via Marshland Rd
The length of route 146 is such that the vehicle resource will not be as efficiently used as it
could be. Provision has therefore been made for this route to be extended on to Dallington in
the future. However, this service may not be able to begin operating at the same time as the
other proposed changes, as it will require some roads to be repaired and a suitable turning
point to be available. Summary
It is proposed that Route 133 is renumbered as route 146, and will initially travel between
Marshland and The Palms. Provision has been made for this service to continue on to
Dallington in the future when road conditions allow. South of Christchurch
Several submissions commented about the need for route 17 to continue running along
Moorhouse Ave past CPIT rather than via Wordsworth St as suggested, so it is now
proposed for the route to remain on Moorhouse Ave.
There was a significant amount of feedback on other proposed changes in the south of the
city. Most of this related to the need to change buses on a journey that can currently be
completed on one route, such as the Cashmere Hills service from which passengers will
transfer to the new high frequency route 1 at Princess Margaret Hospital. Staff have
investigated whether any changes to routes might be possible to take into these suggestions
into account, but believe that no other solutions (including those suggested by some
submitters) offer a better outcome than what was originally proposed in the consultation. The
design of routes in this area is somewhat dictated by physical features such as the Port Hills
and Heathcote River, as well as man-made constraints such as traffic calming measures on
many streets and intersection designs.
One particular area of note has been the proposed route 120 in the Spreydon area. Concern
was raised by a relatively small number of residents about the need for passengers traveling
to the city centre to change buses at the Selwyn St shops. As well as submissions to the
network review, these concerns were raised through a deputation to the Spreydon/Heathcote
Community Board (the Board consequently made a submission to the consultation
supporting these concerns, and asking for a two year moratorium on any Metro route
changes). The option of this route continuing to the city centre was considered, but it has not
been put forward as a proposal as the current usage of services in this area does not support
more than one route continuing to run into the city centre. Instead it is proposed to make the
connection between services at the Selwyn St shops as fast and efficient as possible so that
passengers from the Spreydon area continue to have regular and reliable access to the city
centre on the Metro network.
Route 17 is now proposed to travel via Moorhouse Ave instead of Wordsworth St;
All other services in the south of the city remain the same as what was included in
The proposed final route structure for the stage 2 network changes are shown in figures 1
Figure 1: Final proposed routes in Christchurch, including the changes made as a result of
the public consultation. The grey lines indicate routes that are not proposed to change at this
point in time.
Figure 2: Final proposed routes in the Waimakariri District.
The final proposed changes result in savings of 1,016,367 ‘in-service’ kilometres per annum,
and 12 less vehicles will be required than the routes they replace.
It is proposed that all vehicles operating on the new Metro routes are fitted with bike racks,
as these are fitted on most of the existing routes they replace.
Subject to the outcome of negotiations with the existing operators, it is proposed that the final
changes are implemented in December 2012. FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS
The total budget for Greater Christchurch Passenger Services contracts for 2012/13 is
$49,463,302. It is expected that the total saving for the full implementation of the Network
Redevelopment Project (Stages 2 and 3) will be approximately 13% dependent on the
outcome of negotiation with the operators and changes as a result of Stage 3 consultation.
The total saving for the implementation of Stage 2 of the Network Redevelopment Project is
expected to be approximately $1.8 million dependent on the final outcome of negotiation with
the operators currently being undertaken. This amount is purely as a result of the changes
proposed in this report and makes no allowance for cost indexation increase as a result of
increases in Road User Charges and increased diesel cost.
Patronage for the 2010/11 financial year (July-June) was a little over 13 million trips – a 25%
loss in patronage relative to the year before. The cost recovery for the year was 37.2%.
Patronage for the 2011/12 was 11.2 million trips – a further 15% loss on the previous year.
Whilst these figures indicate a slowing of the decline, a more fundamental change is required
to halt and then reverse the trend in patronage and farebox revenue.
The proposed model, with the required supporting infrastructure, will essentially deliver the
same level of coverage and the same access time to key destinations, but it will be achieved
with greater reliability, using fewer buses, doing fewer kilometres. It is estimated this will
equate, upon full transition to the new model, to a saving of $6m per annum (13%) in
operational expenditure, representing a saving to Environment Canterbury and government
of around $3m per annum each.
The proposed Hub & Spoke model provides bus priorities and improved network legibility,
both of which are positive benefits. On the other hand the need to change buses at the
proposed suburban interchanges will be a disadvantage. Experience in many countries
indicates that passengers avoid having to change buses where they can. On the other hand
in this case the need to change will be mitigated by a number of factors, including:
Where possible there will be time pulse connections at the hubs, i.e. feeder services
arrive at hubs at the same time as the core service arrives with services leaving at
the same time.
Suburban interchanges will have a good level of comfort with shelter, seating, real
time information, CCTV and in some cases toilets.
Some passengers will be attracted to using local community based services to
access parts of the city which they are currently unable to access.
The proposed changes present some risks:
The potential loss in patronage due to many passengers needing to change buses. A
higher loss of users is more likely if suitable infrastructure is not able to be provided
at the interchange locations in a timely manner.
The reliability of connections in the new model is very important, and there is some
risk that these connections may not always be reliable.
There is also some risk that cost savings made by these (or any other) changes may not be
fully realised because of other operating costs increasing, most noticeably with the recent
increase in Road User Charges and continuing fuel price rises.
The proposed network design has been reviewed for Environment Canterbury by the Traffic
Design Group. This report particularly focused on the provision of services to areas where
businesses have relocated to since the earthquakes. As previously noted, this report
highlighted the importance of the Sheffield Crescent/Sir William Pickering Drive business
area, and consequently some changes to the proposed routes in this area have been made.
To minimise the risks associated with passengers needing to change buses, a significant
public information campaign is being planned to highlight how these connections will be
designed to be as easy for passengers as possible. Staff will work closely with Metro
companies to educate their staff so that they are aware of how the connections between
services will work, and in turn are able to offer advice and guidance to their passengers.
The proposed changes to routes will require the renegotiation of existing public transport
operating units with incumbent operators. There is flexibility within the current Regional,
Partnership and Unit agreements to allow such changes to be made, particularly given the
financial implications of continuing with the current model. CONCLUSION
There is a strong need to make changes to the Greater Christchurch Metro Network to
reduce the current operating costs and increase the viability of the system. It is deemed that
the most appropriate way to do this is by changing the network model to better serve the
market at a reduced overall cost. New routes have been developed to implement the first
part of this new network model, and public consultation on these new routes has been
carried out. Some revisions to the proposals have been made due to feedback received, and
the final routes proposed to be implemented in December 2012. RECOMMENDATION
That the Council:
Approves the following new Metro routes for implementation in December 2012:
1 Rangiora and Belfast
– Princess Margaret Hospital
– City Express
17 Sheffield Crescent
28 Lyttelton and Rapaki
95 Waikuku Beach/Pegasus
107 Styx Mill - Northlands
115 Murray Aynsley
118 St Albans
– The Palms (and future extension to Dallington)
952 Waikuku Beach
Approves the extension of the existing
’ service from Northlands to
Redwood from December 2012.