Thousands enjoy World Car Free Day

Environment Canterbury’s offer of free public transport, in support of World Car Free Day, resulted in more than 71,000 individual boardings recorded over the weekend.

These numbers are 63% higher than on an average September weekend.

World Car Free Day is a global event focused on encouraging more sustainable travel choices and reducing harmful emissions by leaving the car at home.

Stewart Gibbon, senior manager public transport at Environment Canterbury, said that the initiative was designed to encourage many people to try their public transport service, and come into the central city to see what’s new.

“The success of the initiative is borne out by passenger numbers, such as at the bus interchange, where more than 12,000 people boarded a bus, almost double an average September weekend.”

“The Diamond Harbour Ferry was particularly popular given the great weather over the weekend, with over 800 people each day enjoying what our beautiful harbour has to offer.

We acknowledge that for some people, these extra passenger numbers caused both delay and inconvenience. Black Cat, the ferry operator, did an outstanding job, with extra trips run on Sunday to accommodate the demand,” he said.

The fare revenue foregone for an average September weekend, as a result of this initiative, represents approximately $61,000, funded from the existing marketing and promotions budget. Public transport is funded from a combination of fares, rates and central government grants.

Taking the bus - a great way to explore the central city

“The success of, and high level of public engagement with, this initiative demonstrates that public transport is a viable travel choice for many journeys in and around greater Christchurch, particularly as a great way to get into the central city.

Incorporating public transport into your regular travel patterns can have a positive impact on emissions, transport network efficiency, and the wellbeing of our community,” said Stewart Gibbon.