Under Level 3, government advice is that travel is still restricted, and is only allowed for permitted movement in your local area – e.g. for going to work or school, shopping, or getting exercise.
Senior Manager Public Transport, Stewart Gibbon, said that increasing the availability of public transport services is the first step in the journey to a semblance of normality.
“We know some of those going back to work or school at Level 3 will need public transport as an important part of their day. Starting on Tuesday 28th April, Timaru’s public transport will be back on track.
“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, our plans were that the MyWay service would replace the Gleniti, Grantlea and Watlington services from mid-April, with the Timaru Link and Temuka services continuing. As of Tuesday next week, this will be the case,” he said.
MyWay by Metro will operate 7am-7pm, Monday to Friday, and 8am-6pm on weekends and public holidays. Booking and service information is available at mywaybymetro.co.nz. The Timaru Link and a revised Temuka timetable are available at metroinfo.co.nz/timaru.
The physical distancing requirement will mean that, depending on the vehicle, a smaller number of passengers than usual can be carried. The Timaru Link buses can generally carry around 8 people, depending on the vehicle, and the MyWay vehicles can carry 3 or 4.
Stewart Gibbon said that although fewer people should be travelling on public transport, the possibility of capacity constraints mean that people should allow plenty of time to reach their destination.
“If the vehicle has reached its allowed capacity, these physical distancing requirements mean it will not be able to pick up additional passengers. We will do our best to limit the impact of this.
“We really appreciate everyone’s patience and kindness as we work within the limitations in place to keep everyone safe. Public transport can be used for those that need to travel but we do need everyone to be aware there will be limited capacity, and please try and avoid peak times unless you are a worker or are travelling to an educational facility,” he said.
Stewart Gibbon said that keeping drivers safe is a top priority for Environment Canterbury and bus operators.
“To maintain physical distancing between passengers and drivers, fares will not be required during the Level 3 period and the Timaru Link and Temuka buses will be boarded from the rear doors.
“Ritchies will continue the regular deep cleaning of all vehicles. The vehicles have a full interior clean daily, with touch points cleaned after each journey, and a full weekly groom.
“Link and Temuka passengers are requested to record their travel on the Contact Tracing app at ecan.govt.nz/trace,” he added.
The Metro school service will resume where there is a need for it.
“We are working with schools to get an understanding of how many children will be returning to school next Wednesday, and whether they will require the Metro school bus service,” said Stewart Gibbon.
Booking MyWay by Metro:
You can book your shared ride in the MyWay vehicle:
- Call 688 5544, or
- Download the MyWay by Metro app for easy bookings.