• Covid-19 Alert L2 - Regular timetables now operating

    COVID-19 Alert Level 2 update

    Metro’s public transport networks have returned to regular timetables, and the central city bus interchange has reopened. Find out more about Metro services at Level 2 here.​

    Capacity on board vehicles

    Government advice is that at Alert Level 2, people can leave home to do more things, but should follow public health measures and consider others around them. In​ particular, people shoul​d keep their distance from people they do not know. This includes onboard public transport. Because of this, the network’s capacity is restricted, across both urban and school services.

    The Ministry of Health requires the capacity on most buses to be limited, which means there will only be approximately 40% of normal seated capacity – or around 25% of normal total capacity, with standing passengers not permitted.

    Sitting together on the bus

    Physical distancing from your fellow passengers is important. Please sit at green stickered seats, unless travelling with people you know. 

    People who know each other can sit next to each other (i.e. in a red dot seat next to a green dot seat). Would you be able to name the people you’re sitting next to if the Ministry of Health contacted you for contact tracing? If so, it’s okay to sit with them.

    Traveling outside of peak times

    If you have a choice, we ask that you avoid travelling at our peak times of 7am - 9am and 2.30pm – 5.30pm, weekdays.

    We really appreciate everyone’s patience and kindness as we work within the limitations in place to keep everyone safe.

View critical updates

 Many relying on public transport for essential travel

A week into the COVID-19 lockdown, public transport use in Canterbury has, as expected, drastically decreased, yet many are still using it for travel to essential services.

Our Councillor Phil Clearwater, who leads the Transport portfolio, said that the government moved quickly to ensure that public transport continues to operate during the Level 4 restrictions, funding the service and enabling free fares until the end of June.

“The rationale is not only to provide public transport as an essential means of travel, but also to retain jobs and to keep vehicles operational so that we can scale the service up again as soon as is possible. Without this funding, the impact on the public transport industry would have been drastic,” he said.

“There is an army of workers making sure that our community retains access to the essential services that so many rely on. From mechanics to bus drivers, cleaners to customer service staff, the work that the bus operators and their staff are doing is so important.”

Buses being used for essential services

Passenger numbers have decreased from 48,845 on a Tuesday last March, to 3,250 on the same day this week. Councillor Clearwater says that while the numbers may be low, they are not insignificant.

“Those 3,250 people need public transport. The buses may look empty much of the time, but every one of those people that are on board is there because they have an essential journey to make. This is where much of the need is. We’re carrying nurses to hospital, chemists to the pharmacies and checkout operators to the supermarket.”

“In most case, the buses are running to their Sunday timetables, and we’ve put on extra morning and evening services on some routes to help people reach their workplaces. During the day, we’re also carrying family members to the supermarket, and we’re helping those without alternative transport to get their flu jabs or to fill a prescription,” he said.

Measures to keep passengers safe

Councillor Clearwater said that across the public transport service, additional measures have been put in place to keep staff and passengers safe.

“To minimise the risk of COVID-19, all high contact surfaces are regularly thoroughly wiped down with commercial-grade sanitiser, and this extra cleaning will be carried out as long as is necessary.

“Passengers are asked to register their journey on our contact tracing website so that they can be contacted if required. People can do so at ecan.govt.nz/trace.

“Customer and staff wellbeing is our first priority, and we know how essential a functioning bus service is to the people of Greater Christchurch. I would like to pass on my sincere thanks, on behalf of Environment Canterbury, for the work being done by bus operators to provide this essential service,” he added.​