Date: 13 May 2020
Metro is supporting those returning to work and school under Alert Level 2, with the Timaru Link and Temuka service back to regular timetables and MyWay by Metro operating at full capacity.
However, Stewart Gibbon, Environment Canterbury’s senior manager public transport, says that returning to normal service comes with advice that some Timaru Link and school services may be full at peak times.
During Alert Level 2, the Ministry of Health requires the capacity on most buses to be limited to 40% of normal seated capacity – or around 25% of normal total capacity, with standing passengers not permitted under Level 2.
“We ask that you consider alternative ways of travelling at peak times, such as biking, walking, scootering or carpooling. Alert Level 2 is simply not business as usual, and we are simply not going to be able to supply enough capacity on the buses to guarantee a seat for everyone who needs to travel,” Gibbon said.
In Timaru, MyWay by Metro on-demand public transport has replaced Metro’s urban Gleniti, Watlington and Grantlea routes, and can operate at full capacity.
Ministry of Health physical distancing restrictions do not apply to MyWay vehicles due to the additional measures in place to support contact tracing, so the vehicles are operating at full capacity, with enhanced cleaning in place and hand sanitiser available.
Timaru school service
Metro’s Timaru school bus will resume from Monday 18th May, in line with most students returning to school.
The physical distancing requirements will have an impact on capacity. Two extra buses will be operating on the Timaru Link during the school peak to provide additional capacity for the first few days, and the need for this will be reviewed in the middle of the week.
Stewart Gibbon said that as a number of children also used to use the now obsolete urban bus routes to get to and from school, two trips a day on the Gleniti route have been retained for the school peak.
“We don’t recommend that MyWay is used for school trips at this time. We will be providing the 7.40am Gleniti trip towards central Timaru and the 3.20pm Gleniti westerly trips for school children, to increase the available capacity at that time,” he said.
“We would like to thank the community for their kindness and patience as we work through the significant restraints caused by this COVID situation.”
Free public transport for a little longer
Waka Kotahi, the New Zealand 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. MyWay bookings can be made by downloading the MyWay by Metro app, calling 03 688 5544 or visiting mywaybymetro.co.nz.