MyWay introductory fares to cease; longer summer hours introduced
Having offered an introductory $2 adult fare since its launch, Timaru’s MyWay by Metro on-demand public transport service will adjust fares from Monday 23 November.
Our public transport community engagement advisor Isabelle Bromham says that the new fares reflect the pricing required to test whether this trial service can be sustainable.
“MyWay by Metro is currently in a trial phase, which involves continuing to make adjustments. We are constantly innovating and tweaking our parameters, including the time spent on the vehicle, and the maximum walking distance,” she says.
“Another adjustment we’ll be testing is whether our community would enjoy extended hours on the weekends. We’ve had a lot of requests for this, so we are going to trial late nights for the four weeks leading up to Christmas. The evening service, bookable on the app only, will be trialled at a flat fare of $5 for everyone.”
Exceeding community engagement expectations
Isabelle says that the MyWay by Metro service has exceeded community engagement expectations.
“Patronage has grown steadily, despite the impact of COVID, and we now have 3,700 registered users. Recently, weekday patronage has been consistently over 420 rides.
“Despite the nationwide drop off in public transport use during COVID Level 1, Timaru’s patronage is the same as this time last year. This compares, for instance, to Christchurch’s patronage which is around 80% of last year.
“What’s been really great to see is that MyWay by Metro is providing a real improvement in accessibility and community connection for many people in Timaru. This is crucial for us, because the success of MyWay will be due to use not only by existing public transport users, but importantly by those who previously did not use public transport. It offers far greater convenience and flexibility, without the need to rely on bus schedules or travel fixed routes,” she says.
More data needed to decide future of MyWay
Isabelle says that despite being well received by those in the community using it, given the disruption of COVID, Environment Canterbury does not yet have enough data to decide the future of the service.
“This is a trial, and it has obviously been impacted by the COVID lockdown. What we do know is that the cost of delivering a service such as this, with significantly more flexibility and access, is higher than the previous traditional fixed route service. The fares need to reflect this improved level of service and contribute appropriately to the operating costs. This is a key component of the trial."
Isabelle says that she encourages people to try the service if they are yet to do so.
“Around 10% of Timaru’s population are currently using the service. To have the best chance of success, more of us will need to give it a go, because it’s going to take more regular users than we have now before MyWay will pay its way.
“This is important, because if the on-demand service is not successful, it would be irresponsible to return to the unviable previous bus service. Most likely, significant reductions to public transport frequency and coverage would be necessary. Essentially, we are testing what level of public transport the community thinks is appropriate for the city of Timaru and their appetite to fund it, via user fares and rates contributions. That said, signs are encouraging, with such a great community response from those using it,” she says.
From Monday 23 November
- Adult: $2.50 (previously $2)
- Child: $1.50 (previously $1.30)
- Total Mobility driveway to driveway service: $5 (no change)
- Evening service: $5 flat fare
Summer on MyWay
We’re trialling extended summer hours ($5 flat fare, app bookings only).
- Fridays and Saturdays until 10pm (previously 7pm Friday and 6pm Saturday)
- Trial period from 27 November until 20 December