Metro continuing to monitor COVID-related disruptions
Note: Metro is currently running to its regular timetable with the exception of the Orbiter, but we are experiencing some trip cancellations due to COVID-19.
COVID-19 Network Disruptions Update
Metro is experiencing a small number of unplanned trip cancellations each day due to COVID-related staff shortages. We realise that unexpected cancellations can be very inconvenient and even distressing.
Our drivers and other staff are doing their best to minimise these disruptions and we apologise if you have been affected. Please remember that we’re all in this together and that many other industries are experiencing the same challenges.
Like many industries across New Zealand, staff are having to self-isolate and our operators are working hard to minimise the impacts on customers where possible. However, as the number of staff isolating increases, cancellations are sometimes unavoidable.
Check Next Bus
Use our online journey planning tool Metro Go to check when the next bus is due at your stop. Cancellations can occur throughout the day so we recommend checking Metro Go when possible for the latest arrival information.
Our operators remove any cancelled trips from the scheduled arrivals list in advance where possible.
Route 1, 5, 95 Express Buses to pick up passengers along route
The 1X, 5X and 95X express services will stop for passengers who signal to be picked up along their regular routes for a limited time.
While we are experiencing these staff shortages and related cancellations, these express services which do not normally pick up passengers at non-express stops will now provide this extra service.
If you are waiting at a stop along these routes, please wave to signal that you want to be picked up – even if marked as an express service. Thanks to one of our customers for this suggestion which we have implemented to help customers during this unfortunate situation.
We will monitor and update customers when we need to go back to normal express operations for the 1X, 5X and 95X.
Metroinfo counter and phones reducing hours
From Monday 25 July the Metroinfo counter at the Interchange will be operating 9am-5:30pm Monday to Friday, and 9am-5pm Saturday and Sunday until further notice. Customers who need to top up or order new cards outside of these hours can do so via these alternative channels:
- Online at metro.co.nz
- With one of the many Metrocard agents around Greater Christchurch.
- Tops ups can also continue to be made onboard buses using cash
Our Metroinfo customer service team are also slightly reducing their hours on Sundays. They’re available to support with any enquiries on 03 366 8855 Monday to Saturday 7am – 7pm, and Sunday 9am – 5:00pm.
These changes in Metroinfo hours have been done in response to staff shortages and ensures our business can continue to operate and deliver services to our Metro customers.
Thanks for your patience
These challenges are not unique to Metro’s operations, and we thank customers for their patience and understanding at this time. Please remember that our drivers and staff are doing the best they can in the current circumstances. While we understand the frustration these disruptions cause to customers, please remember to be kind to staff in these challenging times.
Travelling safely on our buses
As critical workers, Metro operator staff have access to rapid antigen tests via the close contact exemption scheme to help ensure the safety of customers and other staff. For other important updates on our COVID-19 response and the key things you need to know onboard our services, visit our Travel Safe webpage.
Why are trips being cancelled only at the last minute?
The bus operators cancel trips when they do not have a driver available for that run. Driver shifts start at different times of the day which means they can call in sick throughout the day. They might have minor symptoms and not realise they are COVID positive until they take a RAT test before their shift starts.
The bus operator then changes the schedule to work with their priorities and to minimise the impact on each route.
How can I tell if my bus is cancelled on the Metro Go site?
At present when a trip is cancelled it is deleted from the system and hence it disappears from Metro Go. This is the best and most up to date way we have of informing the public of when their next bus is due.
Metro Go and the Next Bus feature don’t seem accurate.
The bus companies cancel trips as soon as they can. As well as drivers being off work there are office staff, mechanics, cleaner - to name a few - who are also getting sick. They are doing their best to ensure you, the public, are informed as soon as possible, but there are times when a trip may not happen, and the schedule was not 100% correct.
How much of the Metro network is affected?
While all our operators are experiencing Covid-19 related challenges, the routes indicated at the top of this page will be impacted the most. Please be aware that other routes are also affected and we will update the list with any specific routes experiencing a large number of cancellations.
Why are you cancelling all the buses in the morning when my child needs to get to school?
Providing a service over the school peak times is a priority. There is every effort to ensure there is adequate coverage of buses in the mornings for children travelling to school.
However, the mornings are difficult and busy as this is when a significant group of drivers are arriving for their morning shifts or calling in sick and when trip changes are being managed.
What are you doing to make sure people can get home using late buses?
The last bus of the day is prioritised to run. We will always do our best to make this trip happen.
Why are less frequent services being cancelled?
As we have a large number of trips being cancelled at present, priorities have to be set. The bus operators look at their entire network to try to ensure they are servicing all communities during the day, not creating big gaps and they also focus on school times.
Bus routes have different frequencies from 10 mins to 30 mins and some go to an hour frequency in the weekends. One cancelled trip can create long gaps between buses and make it feel like certain routes are seriously affected. Efforts are being made to balance trip cancellations on these routes with the more frequent core routes.
Why do I see empty buses passing me when I’ve just had a cancelled trip for my bus, with “Not in Service” on their front screen?
Buses going to and from the depot to start or finish their run display the “Not in Service” to explain to the public why they are empty and driving past, e.g. a school bus.