Date: 13 May 2020
Metro will be supporting those returning to work and school under Alert Level 2, with the public transport network back to regular timetables.
However, Stewart Gibbon, Environment Canterbury's senior manager public transport, says that returning to normal service comes with advice that the network's capacity is limited, across both urban and school services.
"We are back to regular timetables now, and from Thursday we will be again using front door boarding on our buses. However, during Alert Level 2, the Ministry of Health requires the capacity on most buses to be limited to 40 percent of normal seated capacity – or around 25 percent of normal total capacity, with standing passengers not permitted under Level 2.
"Where people have a choice, we ask that you avoid travelling at our peak times of 7am-9am and 2.30pm-5.30pm, weekdays," he added.
Gibbon said although all available buses in the network are in use, the driver workforce may also have an impact on some services, as a number of drivers fall within the 'at risk' category. Any service cancellations will be notified on Metro's website metroinfo.co.nz.
School services are back
Metro's school bus network will resume from Monday May 18, in line with most students returning to school. However, parents are advised that both the school bus and urban bus network will be constrained.
"At the capacity limits we are working within, we simply will not have enough buses and drivers to provide the same capacity as pre-COVID levels," said Gibbon.
"We are asking that parents remain with students at bus stops in case the bus is at capacity, and we recommend that they consider alternative ways for their children to get to school. We know this is a challenging situation for families which rely on school bus services, and we ask everyone to be both kind and patient while we work within Alert Level 2 restrictions."
We are working through the impact of physical distancing requirements on capacity and will provide more information later this week. This will be communicated directly to schools, as well as at metroinfo.co.nz, and on the Metro Canterbury Facebook page.
Free public transport for a little longer
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has provided free fares under Alert Levels 3 and 4. When New Zealand enters Alert Level 2, fares must be collected as soon as possible.
We are working on the details needed to safely reintroduce fares, in collaboration with the Transport Agency. Until then, public transport remains free.
Metro's website metroinfo.co.nz will be kept up to date with the latest information.