New look and schedules for Metro buses
Starting with today's launch of a single livery (exterior design) for all buses, Metro is taking steps to streamline operations for an easier to use network that encourages more public transport patronage.
The fleet will carry a distinctive new teal colour, with design inspired by taonga/treasure species, the foods and resources shared by early Māori, and the natural landscape that connected them.
Buses in the new teal colour will begin to join the service in the coming weeks, while the new cultural livery design will begin to appear on Christchurch's streets towards the end of this year.
Our connected network
Councillor Phil Clearwater said that after research revealed that general awareness of Christchurch's public transport offering was at times unclear, Metro had to question how it could be made more understandable.
"Get more people using the bus - that's the mission. We want to make it clearer that this is a single, reliable, connected network that will get you anywhere you need to go in greater Christchurch across the day.
"We found that the numerous brands of Christchurch’s buses were diluting the message of Metro's connected network, and so we have worked with our bus operators, Go Bus, Red Bus and Ritchies, during the implementation of their new contracts to introduce a single look across all buses.
"The new operating contracts include replacement of around 100 buses, or half our fleet, over the next two years, so with this many buses being produced, this is the time to update the livery," he said.
Ultra-low emission buses
The prototype vehicle unveiled today is a MAN A80 Euro 6, operated by Go Bus.
It is one of 39 new ultra-low emission buses arriving over the next months to serve Christchurch bus users, and all of these will be built by our local bus manufacturer in Rolleston.
These will be followed by 25 zero emission electric buses in 2021, and more new buses in 2022.
A collaborative design
Cr Clearwater says that the new Metro bus livery was developed in conjunction with our Tuia team and Matapopore, the mana whenua organisation responsible for ensuring Ngāi Tūāhuriri/Ngāi Tahu values and narratives are realised within the Christchurch environment.
Matapopore trustee Lynne Te Aika said that the new Metro bus livery tells the story of the mosaic of historic wetlands and waterways which formed a network of trails, streams and rivers.
"These connected settlements and provided access to areas of vast natural resource, full of native birds, fish and plants that sustained our people who lived there," she said.
"Today, surrounded by our urban environment, the Metro network provides this vital transport connection across the Ōtautahi/greater Christchurch area. By weaving this historical narrative into Metro's design and experience, we hope to create a meaningful sense of place and connection that enriches people's understanding of their region."
All buses other than the Orbiter will be painted in the new Metro teal colour to represent our strong link to water, an essential life-sustaining force.
"The Orbiter has been serving Christchurch well for 21 years now and it holds a lot of brand equity with the public. It will remain in a recognizable green livery, symbolic of the land," said Cr Clearwater.
New bus schedules to come
Updates to bus timetables and schedules will be rolled out in three stages in the coming months to reduce the impact on customers. A notable change will be the renaming of the high frequency Metro Lines.
"With all buses to eventually carry the new Metro brand look, we're gradually moving away from the individually coloured Purple, Orange, Blue and Yellow lines.
"While these lines are identifiable for those who use them regularly, feedback from our research has been that they don't tell the story of our connected network to those who are not familiar with public transport," said Cr Clearwater.
The first of the timetable changes start on Monday 28 September and include the 125 Redwood to Westlake, 1 Rangiora to Cashmere (the current Blue Line), and all services in Waimakariri, including the new 97 Rangiora to Pegasus.
The Metro livery will be introduced to the fleet over the coming months, while the timetable changes will be implemented in three stages: 28 September, 29 November, and early next year, as well as the introduction of new direct Waimakariri commuter services using the new Christchurch Northern Corridor in January 2021.