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The Star: March 16, 2017

8 Thursday

8 Thursday March 16 2017 Latest Christchurch news at www. .kiwi The Star News Bid to change the way we travel A major planning document has laid bare the “significant” challenges faced in moving Christchurch from a car culture to a more public transportorientated city. Tom Doudney reports UNLESS PUBLIC transport patronage can be improved, there will be an extra 80,000 cars on the city’s roads in 2041 and 40 per cent more congestion. But getting people to change their ways is not going to easy, a report suggests. The draft future public transport strategic business case was presented to the greater Christchurch public transport joint committee yesterday. It identifies a number of challenges facing authorities in developing and increasing patronage of public transport over the coming decades. These included poor travel time and reliability of public transport compared to private vehicles. Peak time congestion due to more people driving JAM PACKED: Congestion on Christchurch roads is expected to worsen unless steps to increase patronage of public transport can be increased. themselves ensured public to three per cent by 2020 and five transport remained slower than per cent by 2030. The transport alternatives and further discouraged people from using it. Central Recovery Plan also aims chapter of the Christchurch Currently only 2.3 per cent of to triple public transport use for trips made in greater Christchurch over a year are on public However, the strategic business central city trips by 2041. transport, while 83 per cent are case concluded that the challenges facing public transport in private vehicles, with the rest walking or cycling. in greater Christchurch were The Regional Public Transport significant. Plan (2014) aims to increase that “If the problems are not ad- PHOTO: GEOFF SLOAN dressed it is unlikely that public transport targets will be realised,” it stated. “Current trends are for stagnant or declining ridership and that the status quo will not be enough to attract people to choose public transport.” Significant enhancements to public transport would require a large capital commitment and land use would have to be managed to support this. For example, by allowing higher density development along public transport corridors. Environment Canterbury deputy chairman Steve Lowndes, a member of the joint committee, said getting people in the car-dominated culture to shift to public transport was a challenge. “Cars are cheap, petrol is relatively cheap and while those things exist in the market, it is not going to be easy,” Mr Lowndes said. “We have to make public transport an attractive option.” Canterbury University transport expert Simon Kingham said Christchurch was unusual compared to other cities around the world in that it was not investing in rail. Doing so, he said, could help increase public transport usage. “I would hope that ECan and others would be looking at rail,” he said. The next phase of planning for the join committee will involve creating a programme business case focusing on how these challenges should be addressed and how costs would be shared.

The Star Latest Christchurch news at www. .kiwi Thursday March 16 2017 9 in a car culture city • By Tom Doudney THAT CARS and not public transport have been the preferred method of getting around in Christchurch for decades can be illustrated with a single statistic. To find the peak year for public transport patronage in the city, you have to go all the way back to 1945, when 32 million passenger trips were recorded. Currently, patronage is less than half that, at 14 million trips per year, in spite of the population having doubled since then. Patronage began to fall away from the 1950s, as private vehicle use increased. It reached its lowest levels in 1992 when less than seven million trips were recorded. However, numbers were recovering steadily in the early 2000s, as measures were introduced to modernise the bus network. This period saw the introduction of the Metrocard, Orbiter service, real time travel information and the opening of the first central city interchange. By 2010, patronage was at its highest levels (17 million trips) CHALLENGES: Taking a bus is currently slower and less reliable than going by car. PHOTO: GEOFF SLOAN since the early 1970s, but things would change again the following year when the February 2011 earthquake struck. The earthquake altered travel patterns and affected the operation of the bus network. Previously, almost all buses went through the central city and the area’s closure post-earthquake was a big disruption. Environment Canterbury’s redesign of the bus network to the current ‘hub and spokes’ model, which focused on connecting services in the suburbs with less routes coming directly into the city, was implemented in December 2014. However, numbers which had recovered slightly since 2011 have since continued to fall again, dropping three per cent in the 2015/2016 financial year while patronage for the country as a whole increased by the same percentage. In the 2016/2017 financial year to date, numbers have so far fallen a further 2.5 per cent. Cars beat buses in travel time race • By Tom Doudney Travel times during afternoon peak traffic •CBD to Belfast via Cranford St: 12 minutes by car, 32 minutes by bike, 37 minutes by bus •CBD to Cashmere via Colombo St: seven minutes by car, 12 minutes by bike, 13 minutes by bus •CBD to New Brighton via Pages Rd: 11 minutes by car, 21 minutes by bike, 34 minutes by bus •CBD to Christchurch Airport via Memorial Ave: 14 minutes by car, 31 minutes by bike, 30 minutes by bus CATCHING A bus from the central city to Belfast could you take you 25 minutes longer during afternoon peak hour traffic than if you had gone by car. It’s findings like these, from a city council analysis in November, which illustrate one of the key challenges in getting more people to get on the bus. The analysis of four key routes between the central city and outer suburbs showed car travel was much faster than bus travel, while bike travel was faster than bus travel on three of the routes. Environment Canterbury data suggests that frequency is also a key driver of patronage, with the five lines that run every 15 minutes typically attracting more passengers than routes with longer intervals. Bus journey times are also more variable than other modes of transport. The strategic business case found public transport reliability in Christchurch was “considerably lower” than Wellington and Auckland where “approximately 95 per cent of services run on time.” In Christchurch, reliability varied between 12 and 50 per cent during late afternoon peak hour traffic for buses heading out of the city. Things were better during the morning peak hour with buses heading into the city being between 50 and 90 per cent reliable. What happens to the contents of your green bin? Come along to the Organics Processing Plant FREE OPEN DAY! Saturday 18 March 10am–3pm 40 Metro Place, Bromley (next to EcoDrop) Parking onsite or on Metro Place RESULTS Some Cantabrians have been able to move on with their lives since the earthquakes, but we know many have been left behind. For these people the daily stress of dealing with insurance companies or EQC is still very real. We are Earthquake Services, claim advocates specialising in helping people like you resolve your claims and achieve the results you’re entitled to. Contact us today. We’re here to help. Hosted by RED GREEN YELLOW • Plant tour every 30 minutes • Tips and tricks to make your garden grow! • Prizes and giveaways • Informative, educational and fun for the whole family. For more information, phone 941 8999 or visit loveyourrubbish.co.nz CALL TODAY 377 8855 C’mon Christchurch let’s get our rubbish sorted! Contact us today - call 03 377 8855 or visit earthquakeservices.co.nz. We’re located at 127 Ferry Road, Christchurch.