A new solution for public transport in the Long-Term Plan

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There was an overwhelming response to the proposed options for public transport in the Long-Term Plan 2018-28 (LTP) and we thank everyone who took the time to put in a submission.  The majority of submitters opted for the fourth option – ‘none of the above’ – rather than the three proposed ones that involved cancelling the six lowest performing routes. 

After listening to public feedback, staff developed a solution that addresses the majority of key issues raised by the community in LTP submissions, while still addressing the financial situation. 

Below is the solution considered by Council in the Long-Term Plans LTP deliberations today. 
 

The solution

The solution aligns with many of the themes and suggestions from LTP submissions, for example, reducing frequency instead of entirely removing routes, redirecting route 145 into the central city and extending route 28 to Casebrook and Northwood. At the same time, it minimises the negative
impact on the wider network and aligns well with the future network direction that will be signaled in the Regional Public Transport Plan.  Changes to the routes, as detailed below, are likely to be implemented from early October 2018.
 

Routes

107: Retained but reduced in frequency from half hourly to hourly.  The 107 will also have shortened operating hours with later start and earlier finish.
 
108: Mostly absorbed into an extended 28 service.  The 28 will operate at a slightly reduced frequency on weekdays between 9am and 3pm to allow this change to occur.  The frequency in the area currently covered by route 108 would be the same or better than current.  It will also provide a direct service from Casebrook and Northwood to the central city.
 
135: Absorbed into a new combined route that replaces the 135 and 150 services.  This route will have a lower frequency (60 mins at off peak times) and a shorter span of operating hours than the current 135 service. This service will terminate at Taiora, the new QEII Sports Centre set to open Queen’s Birthday weekend 2018, providing a new destination on this route. The new service will no longer serve New Brighton.
 
145: The Westmorland to Barrington Mall section of the service will be retained and extended into the CBD. The service will have a half-hourly frequency during peak times and less frequent services off-peak. The section of the current 145 between St Martins and Eastgate will be discontinued, however, a school service is being considered for Cashmere High school students who currently travel on this service. 
 
150: Mostly absorbed into a new combined route that replaces the 135 and 150 services. This route will have a higher frequency and a longer span of operating hours than the current 150 service, providing a better service for Prestons residents. The section of the route to Spencerville will be removed, however, a school service would be retained for students travelling from Spencerville to Avonside Girls’ and Shirley Boys’ high schools.
 
535: Partly absorbed into an extended 28 service. The new 28 will operate an additional peak trip between Rapaki and the CBD (via Lyttelton) on weekdays. This service will include three trips from Rapaki to the CBD in the morning and three trips from CBD to Rapaki in the afternoon. There will no longer be a direct connection from Rapaki and Lyttelton to Ferrymead or Eastgate.  Councillors have asked staff to further consider the best solution for the 535. 
 
 

Fares

The LTP 2018-28 includes a 2.5% public transport fare revenue increase per year. This will be reflected in fares across the entire network, not only on the services mentioned above. The number of submissions that selected one of the three fares options presented were low, however the option selected most indicated support for a 2.5% fare revenue increase. Below are tables indicating how a 2.5% fare revenue increase might look over the next three years. 
 
 

Rates

More information will be available on rates closer to the LTP adoption date of 21 June 2018.
 

Total Mobility subsidy

Having recalculated this as a part of the whole public transport package, it has been determined that the Total Mobility subsidy will remain at $35 per vehicle trip, ensuring this important service can continue to support as much of the community as possible. 
 

Timaru free-transfer window

The Timaru free-transfer window period will be reduced from four hours to two hours. This will help to ensure that the free-transfer window is used for transfers, as opposed to return trips. 
 

Frequently asked questions

Why was this option not presented as part of the Long-Term Plan 2018-2028 consultation? 
 
The options proposed in the LTP consultation document were proposed to address the immediate financial position of the network. The feedback received from the public has meant that a new solution has been developed. The solution requires a higher targeted rate increase to fund the greater level of service being provided.
 
Where is the money coming from to address the $4 million shortfall?

The package of changes for public transport deliver a balanced approach to achieving financial savings, while retain a level of service to the majority of areas covered by the original six route proposal. Increased rates, matched by NZTA grants combined with overall fare revenue increases will generate the required funding to support package of changes
 
Why can't you retain the routes as they are now?

We have come to a solution that responds to as many of the community ideas put forward in submissions as possible, while still addressing the financial situation and the currently poor-performing services.  The suggestions put forward are likely to perform better, whereas retaining the status quo has little prospect of improvement.
 
When will the route changes be implemented?

At this stage, it is likely to be around early October 2018, but exact timing will be confirmed following Council's adoption of the Long-Term Plan 2018-28 on 21 June 2018.
 
When will we see fares start to increase? 

Fares are likely to change in July 2018; exact timing is to be confirmed.
 
What's it going to cost me now to ride the bus? 

Refer to the tables above to see the potential fare increases for Greater Christchurch and Timaru. 
 
Why will the adult cash fare not change straight away? 

The adult cash fare had a big adjustment in 2016, so it is not being raised again in 2018.  It is planned to be raised in both 2019 and 2020.
 
Why do the fare increases not equate to 2.5% increase each year?

The 2.5% is an increase in total fare revenue - not fare prices. 
 
What does this mean for my rates?

More information will be available on rates closer to the LTP adoption date of 21 June 2018.
 
Are you expecting to see patronage decline with the fare increases and reduced services? 

We need to keep pace with inflation in regard to fares.  Past fare rises have only resulted in a short, small decline in patronage. 
 
Will this new solution change when the Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP) review takes place?

The RPTP is a separate consultation process.  Staff considered the RPTP review when developing this solution to ensure it aligns well with the future network direction that will be signalled in the RPTP.  Any changes that come from the RPTP consultation, and resulting service reviews, would not be implemented until late 2020/early 2021.

Hasn’t the Government signalled a whole lot of funding for public transport in the draft Government Policy Statement?

The GPS has not yet been finalised.  Until it is and NZTA consider how to respond to it we do not know what, if any, further funding will be available, so cannot factor it into our planning at this point in time.

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