MyWay by Metro testing underway

The MyWay by Metro pilot has begun in earnest, with more than 150 people from across Timaru's community now taking part in eight weeks of systems testing.

The pilot started last Monday, with 30 Environment Canterbury and Timaru District Council staff participating in the first week.

The highly visible vehicles have certainly been noticed on the streets, with several people stopping the vehicles to ask if they can join the pilot.

The testing process

Isabelle Bromham, our public transport community engagement advisor, said that this structured testing period is crucial.

"While it bodes well that people are so eager to use the service, the pilot has been designed to fully test all our systems, from the app's functionality to our customer service and vehicle operations."

"Our pilot participants are detailing every aspect of their journey and providing this information back to us so that we can make any changes before we open the service to the public at the end of April."

Isabelle said that her quota of 150 participants is fully subscribed.

Pilot participants representing those with physical or learning disabilities, elderly, migrants, school and tertiary students, commuters and families are all involved, which Isabelle said is purposeful.

"We spend a lot of time talking directly to community groups about their needs, because the rationale behind MyWay by Metro is that we are opening up accessibility around and across Timaru, outside of the traditional bus routes.

"Now that the vehicles are on the road, we have seen interest in the project spike, and my calendar is filling up with visits to speak to additional community groups too," she added.

Positive feedback so far

Participant feedback has overall been very positive.

"We have a lot of happy riders. Around half of our pilot group are people who haven't used Timaru's bus service before, so their satisfaction with the service is very promising." said Isabelle.

"A few teething issues with the system's routing were quickly identified; the technology specifying routes which were not the natural way a driver would usually go, or not using the obvious bus stops outside key locations as drop off points, and some people have found the smaller vehicles' doors heavy to open and close.

"This is why we are running the pilot - this feedback enables us to explore options and update the technology so that it is working effectively when we launch to the public towards the end of April," said Isabelle.

Support for users

IDEA Services' Support Care Worker Debbie Crowe has been supporting people in becoming familiar and confident with using the new system.

She says that the service has been easy to use.

"Once people have downloaded the app and learned how MyWay works, it is very intuitive and straightforward.

"We can also use the local call centre, who have been particularly helpful in explaining how things work and where people will be picked up and dropped off," said Debbie.

You can join in soon

MyWay by Metro is planned to open to the public on 20 April 2020.