With the driver shortage over and Metro services now back to normal, we are happy to announce that the approved changes can now be implemented. See the full Environment Canterbury media release for more details.
From 4 September 2023, two new routes will replace routes 17 and 28:
Route 8 – Port to Port/Airport to Lyttelton
Route 27 – Northwood to Huntsbury
The current 17 and 28 routes will continue operating up until 3 September 2023 after which they will be replaced by the new services.
Other changes include:
• A general weekday frequency of every 15 minutes for Route 8, the new Port to Port service from the Airport to Lyttelton
• An increase in the number of trips extending to Rāpaki including a shopper service and a weekend morning and afternoon service
• A general weekday frequency of every 20 minutes for Route 27, the new Northwood to Huntsbury service
• A two-year trial of alternating services on a section of Route 8 (Port to Port) south of the central city. Buses will alternate between Ara and Colombo St (Sydenham shops) on weekdays every 30 minutes until 5.30pm.
• Seven new electric buses will be introduced post-launch and will be used for these new services and the wider Metro network.
We originally proposed removing the Christchurch Airport stop from Route 125 (Redwood to Westlake), to accommodate the introduction of the new Port to Port route. However, we’ve listened to community feedback and Route 125 will continue to service Christchurch Airport Terminal, in addition to the new Port to Port service.
See the Metro website for more information about these two new routes including maps and timetables. Make sure you’re signed up to our Metro newsletter or following us on Facebook for the latest updates.
Leading up to the launch, additional Metro staff will be stationed at the Bus Interchange to answer questions and help people understand which new route to take.
With funding approved for the changes to routes 17 and 28, we are now working towards implementation of the following:
- Ordering of the new electric buses
- Planning and implementation of infrastructure for the Port-to-Port route by our Metro partner Christchurch City Council.
- Review of infrastructure for the new Northwood to Huntsbury service by Christchurch City Council with any improvements to be consulted on with adjacent residents
- Creation of new bus schedules
Like other regions in New Zealand, a nationwide bus driver shortage continues to impact our services. This affects the implementation of some changes such as increasing the frequency of buses and staffing additional vehicles. These challenges are not unique to Metro’s operations, and we thank our customers for their patience and understanding at this time. We continue to work with our operators around the recruitment of drivers with the hope that the new changes can go ahead in 2023.
We look forward to providing these new services and will continue to post any updates on this page.
Great news, we now have confirmation of the Government share of the funding. We are now able to plan our next steps with confidence.
The service review of routes 17 and 28 has been presented to Council and recommendations have been approved. This means that the local share of the funding has been approved.
We are now in negotiations with Waka Kotahi to secure the national share of the funding before we can confirm when these improvements will be implemented. Once funding is confirmed we will be able to order our new electric buses which will then be built and delivered.
Council has approved the following:
- Changing the 17 and 28 routes to a high frequency Port-to-Port route and the new Northwood to Huntsbury route
- The purchase of seven additional electric buses
- A two-year trial of the Port-to-Port route with alternating services to Ara and Brougham St/Colombo St on weekdays
- The Port-to-Port servicing the airport terminus stop and removing this stop from route 125
Why can’t we implement the changes now?
Public transport is funded through four different sources:
- Targeted rates – this is the local share administered by Environment Canterbury
- Central government grants – administered by Waka Kotahi
- SuperGold card – funded by the Crown
New buses to cater for increased trip frequency will be ordered once funding from the government is confirmed.
What did public feedback tell us?
We had an excellent response with 695 people providing feedback.
This told us that:
- 86% supported the Port-to-Port route
- 91% supported the Northwood to Huntsbury route
- 87% supported the proposal to increase bus frequencies
- 70% said they would be willing to pay more through local rates to enable more of the bus fleet to be electric.
Why have we decided to trial an alternating route for the Port-to-Port service?
While 88% were in favour of the proposed route travelling past Ara, there were also 22% who had significant feedback and concerns about the service not going via the Sydenham shops and Brougham St. Due to this feedback, we considered several different route options, and a recommendation was made to Council. For the two-year trial, we have decided to service both routes by alternating this part of the route on weekdays. This will mean alternating the present route (orange line on map) and the new Ara route (purple line on map).
Will the Port-to-Port stop at the Christchurch Airport terminal?
The Port-to-Port route will be extended to service the Airport terminal. The bus will continue from Wairakei Rd, along Wooldridge Rd, Harewood Rd, Orchard Rd and terminate at the Airport.
What does this mean for Route 125?
Due to capacity limits at the airport stop, Route 125 will no longer stop at the airport terminal. The 125 will continue to use two bus stops close to the airport that are approximately an 8-minute walk from the airport terminal. These are:
- The stop outside the Antarctic Centre. This stop has a direct walkway that is mainly under cover.
- The stop beside Spitfire Square.
Environment Canterbury will engage with Route 125 passengers prior to any changes being implemented.
What are the next steps?
We are working on confirming the final timetable and route for the two new bus routes.
This will include:
Port-to-Port (Lyttelton to the airport)
- Starting at Lyttelton Port the bus will travel through Heathcote and Opawa to the Bus Interchange. From the city centre it will go up Wairakei Rd to Wooldridge Rd and along Orchard Rd to the airport terminal.
- A more frequent service, every 15 mins, during weekdays until 6pm, with 20 mins on Saturdays and 30 mins on Sundays.
- At peak times the existing 10 min frequency trips will remain.
- Servicing both Ara and the Brougham St and Sydenham shops on Colombo St. During week days the Port-to-Port will alternate trips, one going up the one-way system past Ara and the alternate going along Brougham St and up Colombo St
- Servicing Christchurch International Airport
- Morning and afternoon trips extended to Rapaki
Northwood to Huntsbury
- This route will start in Northwood and travel through Casebrook and Bishopdale to Northlands Mall. It will continue down Cranford St to St Albans and the Bus Interchange. The southern end will then travel down Waltham Rd to St Martins before going up Huntsbury Hill.
- An increased frequency of every 20 mins on weekdays until 6pm and 30 mins on weekends.
Christchurch City Council, our Metro partner, looks after the infrastructure for public transport. They have been consulting on proposed changes to infrastructure, such as bus shelters, seats, road markings along the two existing routes.
What about the Cass Bay, Rapaki service?
Council has approved an extra morning trip starting at Rapaki at 7.15am starting Monday 25 July.
This will increase the service to Rapaki and Cass Bay with four morning and three afternoon trips.