Environment Canterbury (ECan) councillors have agreed to extending the number of Christchurch bus routes which will be able to carry bicycles. This will give cyclists the option of cycling one way to work or outdoor activities and busing back, or doing part of a journey on the bus and part cycling.
Bike racks, which carry two cycles, have been successfully trialled on the Lyttelton (number 35 Heathcote) route since November 2007. “On nearly 700 occasions over six months, people put their bike on the bus to get through the Lyttelton tunnel,” said Cr Carole Evans, chair of ECan’s public passenger transport committee. “These racks have been warmly received by Lyttelton cyclists.”
One Ilam/Mt Pleasant bus, one Northern Star bus to Rangiora and Kaiapoi and one Redwood bus also had bike racks fitted as part of the trial.
Councillors agreed to renegotiate the Northern Star contracts so more of these buses could be fitted with bike racks this year also, before the contract is up for renewal. Expanding the bike racks to other contracts will be considered after an evaluation of the current stage one grouping. “The second stage, picking up most remaining bus routes, could begin in 2010,” Cr Evans said.
The ten services involving hills and/or significant distances which will soon be retendered and will require bike-carrying racks as part of their contracts are to Halswell, Kennedy’s Bush, Styx Mill/Westmorland, Harewood/Dyers Pass, Bishopdale/Major Aitken, Airport/Sumner, Ilam/Mt Pleasant, Lyttelton/Rapaki, Riccarton/Heathcote and St Albans/Huntsbury. The bike racks would be ready for the newly contracted services in November.
Each bus will have a bike-carrying rack on the front. The responsibility for loading and unloading the bicycles is the cyclist’s. A pamphlet with instructions is available at the Bus Exchange and on all buses with bike racks.
“The racks integrate public transport with other modes of travel and make places like Lyttelton, where the road tunnel is the main accessway, more cycling-friendly. The more routes which carry the racks, the more people have the option of combining cycling with bus travel,” Cr Evans said. “Bike racks are an important aim of the Greater Christchurch Metro Strategy.”
The expanded Metro bus bike rack network is still subject to funding approval. Each rack works out to around $2000 fitted per bus. The cost per year would be $15,000 (or $75,000 in total over five years) to the public transport targeted rate, which would be included in the proposed Long Term Council Community Plan. Funding spent on public transport receives a 50% central government subsidy.
For more information: Public Passenger Transport Committee Chairwoman Cr Carole Evans, 03 387 0847 or 027 240 3096 or David Stenhouse, ECan Assistant Manager Passenger Services, 03 371 4910, 027 675 1327.