New Year brings change for the Orbiter

Two changes to the Orbiter route will be implemented from Monday, January 7, 2019.

New timetable

An updated timetable and route map for the Orbiter will be available at from Monday, December 17.

Philpotts Road to Cranford Street

From Monday January 7, the Orbiter will reroute to travel via Cranford Street, instead of taking its current route down Philpotts Road.

The Philpotts Road intersection with QEII Drive will temporarily close in early January while work is undertaken as part of the Christchurch Northern Corridor project. Once complete, QEII Drive will be four-laned with a central median, and a right turn in and out of Philpotts Road will not be possible. Philpotts Road and QEII Drive will become left-in left-out only.

Environment Canterbury senior manager public transport Stewart Gibbon said, "We considered several different ways we could respond to how the road layout changes impact the Orbiter, including adding an extra 3km to the Orbiter circuit to take the bus to the next roundabout and back.”

"We had to take into consideration the effects on the wider bus network, directness of the route, access for as many current and potential Orbiter users as possible, and the operating cost. The only viable option we have for the Orbiter is to re-route via Cranford Street."

Homestead Lane / Ilam Road to Waimairi Road / Greers Road

From Monday January 7, the Orbiter route will alter so it continues along Waimairi Road to Greers Road, no longer travelling down Homestead Lane and Ilam Road. The University of Canterbury advised Environment Canterbury in November that it will no longer be possible for buses to use Homestead Lane (a private road owned by the University) from early 2019, due to upcoming construction along the road.

Gibbon said, “When making the decision to reroute the Orbiter down Waimairi Road, we looked at boarding numbers on Waimairi Road, Ilam Road and Memorial Avenue. More passengers currently board the Orbiter at the existing stops on Waimairi Road than on Ilam Road and Memorial Avenue combined.”

The Church Corner area is an important destination for the Orbiter, with a wide variety of shops and restaurants, as well as three high schools in the vicinity.

“The University is also an important destination and although this change means the Orbiter will be slightly further away from the main campus, the University remains well-serviced by public transport with routes 100, 120, 130 and the Purple Line,” Gibbon said.

“Given the timeframes available, rerouting the Orbiter along Waimairi Road is the only viable option we have. While we need to make this change at short notice, we will work with the University, Christchurch City Council and the Ilam community, to investigate ways to service both destinations in the longer-term.”