A better way to commute for Waimakariri residents is one step closer
Direct commuter buses from Rangiora and Kaiapoi to central Christchurch, supported by new Park & Ride facilities, are now one step closer thanks to support for the proposal from the Waimakariri community.
The proposal was for direct commuter bus services to use the new carpool lanes being built at the Tram Road on-ramp and on the Christchurch Northern Corridor, supported by Park & Ride locations in Rangiora and Kaiapoi. Consultation took place in November 2019.
Environment Canterbury's manager of public transport strategy, planning, and marketing, Edward Wright, said it was great that the Waimakariri community was largely supportive of the concept.
“We received over 400 responses from Waimakariri residents and spoke with many people throughout the consultation at different community events. Most people agreed with what was proposed, and based on this, we are proceeding with the planning and design of the new service.”
- 405 submissions were received from Waimakariri district ratepayers and/or residents
- Most respondents either fully agreed (56%), or agreed with suggestions or concerns (30%), with the concept of introducing direct commuter bus services, supported by Park & Ride locations
- A further 65 responses were received from people who don’t live or pay rates in the Waimakariri district, and they have not been included in the statistics reported here
The direct bus services require a higher targeted public transport rate for Waimakariri residents.
Wright said, “A key component of the consultation was understanding if the community thought that partly funding the proposed services through rates was a good idea, and at what level. The majority of respondents supported the option with the higher rate increase, providing more trips, so we will proceed with our planning based on this.”
- 51% of respondents supported the higher increase of $30 for urban properties and $10 for rural properties annually, providing for four morning trips and five afternoon trips from both Rangiora and Kaiapoi
- 14% preferred the lower rate increase, allowing for less trips
- 35% didn’t support either option
A significant portion of submitters who didn’t agree with the proposal, or didn’t agree with the rates increase, suggested the services be fully user-pays. Wright said that it’s important to note that public transport across New Zealand is funded by a combination of central government grants, fares from users, and targeted local rates.
“It needs to be structured this way in order to access central government grants. If there is not sufficient contribution from rates, we would be unable to receive central government funding for the service.”
Prior to consultation, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency had agreed to cover its portion of the funding required, and Waimakariri District Council had Park & Ride investigation work already budgeted, which is why feedback was only sought on the portion required through Environment Canterbury rates.
Park & Ride facilities
As part of the consultation, Waimakariri District Council asked the community for feedback on Park & Ride locations and what is available at these sites.
There was strong support overall for the proposed Park & Ride locations, with 70% fully agreeing, and 20% agreeing with suggestions or concerns.
Just over a third of respondents suggested additional facilities they’d like to see at the Park & Ride locations, including toilets, security measures, bike storage and bus shelters.
Some suggestions for alternative Park & Ride locations were made, including Woodend, Pegasus, Silverstream, Kaiapoi North and Tram Road. Waimakariri District Council roading and transport manager Joanne McBride said that the aim is to utilise and improve existing facilities where possible in the short-term, but it is possible that new sites could be required in the future as demand increases, and as growing centres in other parts of the district, such as Woodend and Pegasus, develop further.
Planning and design of the services will begin now so that they are ready to be implemented when the Christchurch Northern Corridor opens later this year, subject to final funding approval which will be considered as part of Environment Canterbury's Annual Plan process.