Summary of submissions
Following the hearings, the hearings panel compiled a summary of the submissions and a series of recommended changes to the draft Plan, which will be put forward to the Greater Christchurch Public Transport Joint Committee at its meeting on Monday December 3.
The Joint Committee will consider these recommendations before approving the plan and putting it forward to the Environment Canterbury Council for consideration and adoption at its council meeting on Thursday December 13.
The key themes that came through in submissions and the recommended changes are listed below. You can read the full report here.
There was a strong theme from submitters on the role of rail-based solutions in the draft Plan.
The draft Plan includes providing for rapid transit in its future vision and no single mode of transport is preferred or ruled out.
The NZ Transport Agency, Christchurch City Council, Environment Canterbury, Selwyn District Council and Waimakariri District Council are working together to investigate advanced rapid transit technologies which could include rail, through the Future Public Transport Business Case process.
There were a significant number of submissions relating to requests for service improvements through route changes or scheduling amendments, as well as for the hours of service for public transport to be extended, particularly in the evenings and during weekends.
These requests have all been noted by the hearings panel and referred to Environment Canterbury to be considered as part of the network review process beginning in 2019.
While the majority of submitters generally agreed with the proposed vision for the future, there were some valid suggestions that it does not effectively cater for the vulnerable groups in society such as the elderly and those with disabilities.
The panel recommends the vision is amended to reflect the need for public transport to be inclusive of all members of the community.
The proposed new vision is:
Public transport is innovative and inclusive and sits at the heart of a transport network that supports a healthy, thriving, liveable Greater Christchurch. The public transport system is accessible and convenient, with high quality, zero emission vehicles and facilities. The system gets people where they want to go – as a result it is well used and valued by the people of Greater Christchurch.
Submitters told us they want a greater commitment from the responsible agencies on the delivery of bus priority measures, noting that increasing bus frequency may not deliver a better public transport service if they are caught in congested traffic.
Supporting infrastructure and bus priority have been included in the draft Plan, and partner agencies are
committed to providing bus priority to ensure public transport functions effectively as the system grows.
Central city shuttle
The commitment in the draft Plan to restore a central city shuttle route in the CBD received considerable support in the submissions. There were many different thoughts on how this should be funded and the types of vehicles that should be used.
The Central City Shuttle Business Case will be referred back to the Joint Committee for further investigation, including analysis on funding and route.
There was strong agreement from submitters on introducing zero-emission vehicles to the public transport fleet. In fact, many suggested the draft Plan’s proposed timeframe of transitioning to zero-emission vehicles is not quick enough.
The panel endorses an ‘as fast as practicable’ approach to rolling out zero-emission vehicles, taking into consideration limitations around funding and competing considerations. It also notes that the Plan’s focus on achieving higher patronage, encouraging more people out of single occupancy vehicles and into alternatives like public transport, will help to reduce carbon emissions and contribute to environmental outcomes.
The panel has requested that the Plan is changed to reflect stronger wording – a move to zero-emission vehicles rather than encourage – and has requested that Environment Canterbury investigate and incentivise the rollout of zero-emission vehicles as part of its procurement process.
During consultation we heard many different thoughts on which groups are most deserving of cheaper fares such as those with disabilities, lower-income groups and families, and students/youth.
Maintaining fares at the lowest possible rate across the board is a key goal.
The fare review signalled in the draft Plan, to be undertaken within 12 months of adoption, will take a closer look at the approach to fares and concessions. The panel also recommends increasing the age for the child concession to under 19, rather than under 18, to be inclusive of secondary school students who are over 18. Fare changes are subject to annual planning processes.
Funding impacts on the delivery of all the proposals in the draft Plan. How fast we can make this transition will depend on the rate of funding available.
If this future vision is to become a reality, we are going to need substantially more investment from the early 2020s.
The relationship with central government is important to deliver this, and local ratepayer contributions are also vital to provide an improved and better used public transport system.
Read the full report
The above is a condensed summary of the full hearings panel report to the Greater Christchurch Public Transport Joint Committee. You can read the full report here
Where are we heading?
Canterbury is a wonderful place to live, and it is becoming even better as we progressively reshape our city.
Within the next five years, our central city attractions will open—Tūranga, our new Central Library, the Town Hall, Te Pae Convention Centre, Taiwhanga Rehia Metro Sports Centre, and the multi-use stadium. That means a lot more people enjoying what our city has to offer.
In the next 30 years, population growth will add another 150,000 people to Greater Christchurch. If we keep thinking the way we do now, more people means more cars on our roads, but it is clear that we can’t build our way out of congestion.
It’s time for a big shift in how we think about transport.
1. Improve our environment
How: increase the number of people using public transport and reduce the carbon footprint of public transport by shifting to low or zero emission vehicles.
2. More people using public transport
How: greater priority for public transport on high demand routes and a highquality travel experience. As the population grows, rapid transit may be added to improve travel times along key corridors to and from the city.
How: provide more frequent public transport services so that more people can get to workplaces, shopping, education and recreation within 30 minutes travel time.
How: trial and introduce new transport and technology initiatives with lower environmental impacts, greater safety and lower costs.
How: expand the network at a rate the community can afford, with cost effective new services and infrastructure that is financially sustainable for ratepayers and funding agencies.
Today's choice. Tomorrow's journey?
Every three years, Canterbury residents have an opportunity to influence the future direction of the public transport services offered in our region.
The Regional Public Transport Plan sets out the plans for the public transport system and outlines how it will be funded and operated.
1. Improve our environment
How: Increase the number of people using public transport and reduce the carbon footprint of public transport by shifting to zero emission vehicles where practical.
How: Cater for the movement patterns and desires of the community. With a higher proportion of retirees in Timaru compared to Christchurch, accessibility and coverage are priorities.
How: Trial and introduce new transport and technology initiatives with lower environmental impacts, improved service and greater safety.
How: Public transport is the safest mode of transport, with fewer deaths and injuries than travel by car, walking or cycling. By continuing to provide good service levels, personal security is also improved, and people are able to get out and about more frequently.
How: Provide cost effective services and infrastructure at a financially sustainable rate the community and funding agencies can afford.
On Saturday 22 September, for World Car-free Day, travel on Metro is free. Leave the car at home, take the bus, and it will cost you absolutely nothing.
Why? It’s time to have your say on Canterbury’s draft Public Transport Plan. The Plan takes our city into its sustainable future, and it asks your thoughts on things like more frequent buses, quicker trips, and a shift to zero emission vehicles.
Saturday is a great opportunity to give public transport a go for free, to get you to where you need to be. We’ve had a look at a few things happening around the city, and how you could get there by bus:
- The Extravaganza Fair hits Christchurch on Saturday – a fun-filled, family event – with free entry! Held at the Gap Filler site at 202 Gloucester Street, the fair is a short 5-minute walk from the Manchester Street super stops, or a 10-minute walk from the Bus Interchange.
- Heading to Katchafire at the Bedford Bigtop? Located on the corner of Madras and Gloucester Streets, just a 5-minute walk from the Manchester Street super stop, or a 10-minute walk from the Bus Interchange, how about leaving the car at home and taking the bus for free?
- Bill Bailey is in town this Saturday evening with his new comedy and music performance, Earl of Whimsy, at Horncastle Arena. If you’re planning to head along, the Orbiter is a great option to travel to Horncastle Arena, with bus stops on Whiteleigh Ave only a 10-minute walk to the venue.