Timaru bus contractor changes hands in New Year

Published: Wed 25 Oct 2006 12:17 AM
October 25, 2006
Bright green bus service as Timaru’s contractor changes hands in New Year
Christchurch Bus Services has won the Environment Canterbury tender for the urban bus service in Timaru. The new contract begins on Monday, January 8, 2007 and will operate under the name Timaru Bus Services. The current contractor is Ritchies.
Timaru Bus Services will use a fleet of Metro branded, bright green, low-floor buses which are particularly user-friendly for families, parents with pushchairs and prams and people in wheelchairs. There will be two wheelchair spaces available per bus.
The managing director of Christchurch Bus Services, Clive Peter, says that he is looking forward to working with the community and providing a service that meets the needs of Timaru people, which he hopes will be supported in greater numbers.
Timaru regional councillor Mark Oldfield agrees and notes that the existing contractor Ritchies deserves congratulations for their past good service. “I’d really like to encourage Timaru people to support this new service – use it or lose it is the bottom line, particularly with an increasing number of elderly people in Timaru who are more likely to require public transport.
“Around half the subsidised cost is supplied through central government funding, which is a good deal for local ratepayers. The goals for Timaru’s bus service is to increase patronage by 50 per cent from 2005 – 2020. Two of the ways we hope to achieve this are through improved bus quality and faster, more efficient ticketing through the new Metrocard, which we hope to have available to use in January. If there are no hitches in installing the software, people should be able to get a Metrocard as a Christmas present this year, ready to use on roll-out day.”
The fares on the new service will be the same as the current fare structure ie $1.50 adult fare and $1 child fare within Timaru zone, $4 for an adult and $2 for a child for the Temuka to Timaru service and $2 for an adult, $1 for a child for the Washdyke service. Routes and timetables will largely remain the same.
The Metrocard should be available towards the end of this year to be used in the New Year. This will discount cash fares by 25 per cent. People will be able to apply for a Metrocard at the Timaru Information Centre at Landing Services near the railway station and deposit credits of $10 or more on it, either on board the bus or at the Information Centre. Timaru people will be notified once the technology is installed to process the cards.
The Metrocard speeds up bus boarding times, reduces passengers’ need to carry cash and saves money. Another advantage of the Metrocard is that a commuter who travels to and from work each day would then be able to use the bus at the weekend for free once the five-day minimum was reached. Or, a bus traveller would be able to use the bus several times in one day for the same capped cost as using it to and from town.

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