On-demand public transport looks to the future

Timaru will continue to enjoy the flexibility and accessibility of on-demand public transport until at least mid-2024, having now received funding assurance for MyWay by Metro from Waka Kotahi.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Director Regional Relationships James Caygill confirmed that the agency will provide $1.8 million for the three years from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2024 under the National Land Transport Fund.

The Waka Kotahi funding equates to 51% of the difference between the cost of the service and fare revenue. The remaining 49% is funded through a targeted urban Timaru rate.

MyWay growth continues

Environment Canterbury’s Councillor responsible for public transport, Peter Scott, said that the funding confirmation means the future is exciting for innovative transport solutions in New Zealand.

“MyWay by Metro patronage is consistently strong, with around 6100 regular customers. Each weekday, we now carry around 500 - 600 passengers. On our busiest day just before Christmas, we carried 635 passengers,” he said.

“During our Long-Term Plan 2021-31 consultation last year, we asked Timaru’s ratepayers whether they value this sort of public transport for their city, and it was clear that community support is high, with 77% of respondents supporting continuation of the service. Support was highest among users of MyWay at 91%, and more than two thirds of non-users also support the service continuing.

“We are proud to provide a service that has already grown the use of public transport by 30%, as well providing a marked increase in accessibility, and significant environmental benefits through reduced greenhouse gas emissions and multi-passenger trips. I would like to thank the Timaru community for their ongoing support,” said Cr Scott.

“Now, with funding confirmed, and the trial extended, we will turn our attention to the future, developing service improvements to continue to grow the value of the service for Timaru residents.”

Supporting the Timaru community

Timaru District Council Mayor Nigel Bowen also commented on the funding news.

“This is great news for the Timaru community. MyWay was a major shift in thinking for public transport, but it’s one that the whole community has embraced and it’s now proving an important link for a wide range of users,” said Mayor Bowen.

“Although it’s been growing in popularity over the pilot period, this longer term funding will enable more people to discover the value of the service and will help put it on a firm path for the future.”