On-Demand Public Transport in Timaru

Date: 29 November 2019

​Frequently asked questions

What is MyWay by Metro?

MyWay by Metro is an on-demand public transport service.  That means you’re in charge; you say where you want to go when you want to be picked up and from where. There’s no set route or timetable – it’s public transport based around your needs.

Using the MyWay app, you will be able to request a vehicle directly from your smartphone. A ride will be just as easily booked using the dedicated website, and through the call centre. Advanced scheduling technology ensures you’re collected on time and enables multiple passengers to seamlessly share the vehicle.  Trips are quick so it’s easy to plan your journey.

The powerful technology will identify a nearby virtual bus stop within a short walking distance for pick up and drop off, allowing for quick and efficient shared trips without lengthy detours, or inconvenient fixed routes and schedules. 

When you book, you select your pick up date, time and place, and let us know any accessibility needs.  

When will it start?

Timaru’s on-demand public transport will start in February with a 10 week, closed group pilot to fully test the systems. 

In late April, the service will be introduced for a trial period of 12 months, during which time the community will be supported to use the new service.  The Temuka service and scheduled school services will continue to operate during that time, while on-demand transport will replace the Grantlea, Watlington and Gleniti services.  The Timaru Link will continue for the first part of the public trial, and will be reviewed after a few months.

What will MyWay by Metro cost?

Introductory fares for the 12 month trial:


​Cash ​Convenience
 Adults ​$3.00 ​$2.00
Children 5-7 years ​$2.00 ​$1.30
  • Convenience fares are for app and Metrocard payments.  Children under five travel free.  
  • SuperGold cardholders travel free during all off-peak times. That's weekdays between 9am and 3pm, and after 6.30 pm, and weekends and public holidays. Simply register as a SuperGold holder and then present your SuperGold card to the driver when boarding the bus.
  • Fares for the Link and Temuka service are not affected by the MyWay service trial.

Who provides the technology for the service?

Global mobility and technology expert Via has been appointed to provide the next generation on-demand technology.  Via powers on-demand public transport in more than 20 countries across five continents, bringing extensive experience to the Timaru trial. Via was closely involved in the feasibility study, and are incorporating key learnings and recommendations into the design of the service. 

Who will the transport provider be?

Local operator Ritchies has been selected for the vehicle service operation.   Ritchies will initially operate five on-demand vehicles as well as retaining the contract to run the remaining Link, Temuka and school services.  

Ritchies will also operate a local call centre, so that MyWay by Metro customers have the option of calling to book as well as using the app or website. 

How many vehicles will be in use?

The My Way service will start with five, with the ability to scale up to 8 at the second stage of the trial.

What size will the vehicles be?  And how accessible?

We are currently confirming the vehicles, and expect these to be between 10 and 20 seat vehicles. The MyWay by Metro vehicles will be capable of meeting just about every transport need, including disability access and storage for prams and bikes.  Just let us know your needs when you book.

How far will I walk to be picked up?

The intent of the pilot period is to trial the service so that it is as convenient as possible.  We anticipate average walking distances to be no more than that between existing bus stops, and most likely less.  The feedback from the pilot participants will help us to understand customer needs.

How many people will I share with?

Just like on other forms of public transport, the number of passengers you will share your journey with will vary, depending on the demand of other passengers going in the same direction as you. Sometimes this may be as few as 2 or 3, other times it may be up to 20.

Does the journey take longer if we pick up others on the way?

Via’s next generation technology builds in additional passengers to suit the preplanned arrival time you have been given.  Any additional passengers may add a minute or so to your journey but nothing more substantial.  Unlike taxi journeys, you will never pay more for your journey even if the traffic means your journey takes a little longer.

Will drivers wait for me?

Our drivers need to keep to time for everybody on board.  Just like a bus, you will need to be at the pick up point at the arranged time.  Using the app, you can see when the vehicle is approaching.  If you are not at the pick up point, you will be charged the fare as a ‘no show’.

Where and when will MyWay by Metro operate?

The service will cover all of the Timaru urban area including Washdyke, Gleniti and the Port area.  A map will be available soon.​

It will operate for longer than the current bus service. We expect this to be 7am to 7pm on weekdays, and hours to be confirmed on weekends.  If the trial goes well, the hours can be extended to include later evenings. 

Can a child use MyWay by Metro unaccompanied?

As a public transport service, minors under the age of 16 may travel unaccompanied at their parent’s discretion.

How does MyWay by Metro work for passengers in a wheelchair?

Wheelchair accessible vehicles are available in the MyWay fleet. 

As this is limited to one space per vehicle it is important that you request a wheelchair space when you book, so that we do not allocate your booked space on the same vehicle to a fellow wheelchair passenger. Your driver will exit the vehicle and assist you to load and unload.

How does MyWay by Metro work for passengers travelling with a pram or pushchair?

All MyWay vehicles have space to accommodate a pram or pushchair on board. As this is limited to one space per vehicle it is important that you request a pushchair space when you book. 

Can I book a journey for my family, or a group of people?

Yes, you can book and pay for a journey for several people.  The people in your group can pay by cash if they wish to pay separately.

Can I book the service on behalf of someone else?

You can use the MyWay by Metro app to book rides on behalf of family, friends or colleagues. If you book the ride for someone else, MyWay will text the traveller to let them know that you have booked the ride for them, and where they need to stand to be collected from their ‘virtual bus stop’. You can also book rides for yourself and one or more other people travelling in the same direction. In this case one of you can do the booking for everyone, there is no need for each passenger to log into the app to make their own individual booking.

Can I flag down the vehicle for a ride?

To enable us to keep on time, and for the safety of our passengers, we can only pick up passengers who have prebooked.  Booking only takes a minute, so download the MyWay by Metro app to do it on the go.

How will people learn about the service? 

We’re working through the best ways to support everyone in our community to easily use the MyWay by Metro service.  This includes drop-in sessions, information in the media, advertising, and people on the street offering assistance.

Are transfers available?

With MyWay, the service takes you to your destination, so there are no transfers required.  There’s no transfer ticket option between the Link or Temuka service and MyWay.

Where will the FreePhone booking locations be?

We will have these at key locations in Timaru, such as the library, CBay, the hospital.  These will be confirmed shortly.


Need to know more

We will keep this webpage up to date as things progress. You can also email us on ask@metroinfo.co.nz or call 03 688 55 44. 

Keep up to date with Timaru’s on-demand public transport project by subscribing to our mailing list​.

Read the latest media release​.

Previous updates 

​​ ​​​​​
​​