Covid-19 Level 3 service updates


Christchurch’s public transport services are now running at regular timetables and the central city bus interchange is open, although the Metroinfo counter and the Riccarton Lounge will remain closed during Alert Level 3. ​

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.​

Free fares  

Free fares will remain in place under Alert Level 3.  When New Zealand enters Alert Level 2, Waka Kotahi, the New Zealand Transport Agency, expects regions to begin collecting fares on public transport as soon as possible if they can do so safely. 

We are working with the Transport Agency to understand how soon fares might be re-introduced after we move to Level 2. 

Capacity restrictions

The physical distancing requirement will mean that, depending on the vehicle, a smaller number of passengers than usual can be carried. The number will depend on the size of the vehicle, but will generally be between 7 and 11. 

Although fewer people should be travelling on public transport, the possibility of capacity constraints mean that you should allow plenty of time to reach your destination. 

​If the bus or ferry 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, but we ask that caregivers wait with children at bus stops.

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.  Please try and avoid peak times unless you are a worker or are travelling to an educational facility.

Keeping drivers and passengers safe  

Keeping everyone safe is a top priority for Environment Canterbury and bus operators. 

Contact Tracing:  Why is it important to record your travel?

Here in New Zealand, we are a team of five million. Let’s work together – you can help by providing your contact tracing information whenever you use public transport.

Contact tracing supports early detection of suspected cases to prevent potential onward transmission of the virus.

Contact tracing, as well as testing and quarantine/isolation measures, is critical in supporting New Zealand’s mission to eliminate COVID-19.

The importance of contact tracing is increasing as New Zealand moves through to lower alert levels.  

How do I provide contact tracing information?

When you use public transport, the Ministry of Health asks that you record your travel on our Contact Tracing app.  This is a simple process. Take note of the unique bus ID number written on the in-bus poster, and visit ecan.govt.nz/trace to register your details. 

If you don't have access to the internet you can call us on 03 366 8855 and we will register your trip for you. 

The contact tracing information is held for Ministry of Health purposes only. Find out more here​

How does contact tracing work?

When there is a suspected, confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, a contact tracing process will occur to:

  • identify all ‘close contacts’ of the case – so that these people can be quarantined/isolated (and tested if required); and
  • identify ‘casual contacts’, of the case, and ask them to be tested if they have (or develop) symptoms of COVID-19.

Contact tracing is undertaken by your local Public Health Unit, or by the National Close Contact Service. The information you provide when registering your travel is confidential and will only be used for this purpose.

Register your travel here.​

Physical distancing onboard vehicles 

Under Alert Level 3, physical distancing of 2 metres applies when travelling in public transport, apart from when travelling with people in your bubble.

We have provided stickers onboard, on each seat, to make it really clear where you can sit.  Of course, this does significantly reduce capacity on each vehicle. We ask that you avoid travelling at peak times unless you need to for work or school.

There are a few exceptions to the 2 metre rule, which are acceptable to the Ministry of Health:

  • ​There may not be a full 2 metres to the person sitting directly in front or behind you.
  • The 2 metre radius can be broken for the purpose of boarding or departing a vehicle (or other passing). 

Front door accessibility 

To help keep everyone safe and maintain a distance from drivers, passengers are asked to board from the rear doors unless they have an accessibility need, except for at the bus interchange, where the front doors will be used for boarding.

If you use a wheelchair or mobility device or require driver assistance, you can still get on and off using the front door. 

Metro school services 

Metro school services will resume when we reach Alert Level 2 and all children return to school.  Physical distancing requirements will mean there may be some capacity issues.  We will keep this page updated with any changes.

Lost Property

During the level 3 period, the only lost property you will be able to collect from bus operators are high value items such as phones, wallets or valuables. Anything else will be stored and be available for retrieval after the lockdown has ended.


Feedback process

During the level 3 period, all feedback received will be reviewed by the Metro team. Our response times will be longer than normal due to staff availability and temporary working locations. We will prioritise serious issues and respond to other feedback as resources allow. Reponses during this time will be via phone or email only.​


We’ve been taking steps to ensure we’re prepared for COVID-19 in Canterbury

Some of these steps include:

  • asking passengers to:
    • follow the guidelines on self-isolation​
    • to board from the rear doors (unless they have an accessibility access need)
    • maintaining a 2 metre distance from other passengers and the driver ​
  • cleaning our buses and ferries on a regular basis and stepping up the cleaning of surfaces like handrails, stop buttons, and seat backs.
  • blocking seats closest to the drivers from being used.
  • making sure the very latest information and advice from the Ministry of Health are being supplied to our staff and operators.

Some tips from the Ministry of Health:

  • If you are unwell stay home.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cough or sneeze by covering your mouth and nose with tissues.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with more than 60 percent alcohol.
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs.

Call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 if:


If you have any further questions email us at metroinfo@ecan.govt.nz​ or call 03 366 8855.



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