Christchurch bus changes frustrate commuters

SARAH ARGYLE
Last updated 05:00 10/09/2012

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Christchurch commuters are fed up with constantly changing bus routes and last-minute updates leaving them clueless at the bus stop.

Following Thursday's crash by a bus travelling on an alternate course, attention has been drawn to surprise route changes and the effect on bus users.

Maureen Taane was left stranded when her already consistently late bus failed to show.

“I thought ‘it's a nice day, I'll just wait for the next one'. When that didn't show, I phoned the bus company who told me there was a detour in place and details were on their website.

“The old ‘I missed my bus' excuse is getting a bit tired,” she said.

Red Bus chief executive Paul McNoe said the route changes would continue. “The absence of the central city has really disrupted the entire transport network. While we had a network in place post-earthquake, it isn't really meeting the needs any more."

Business relocation following the February 2011 earthquake had dramatically altered the volume of traffic, McNoe said.

“It will take some time for the disruption to settle down. There are numerous detours that will be with us for the next five years.

“It's really important we try and establish a new system that meets people's needs. We're doing our best to keep the wheels running."

Leopard Coachlines human resource manager Garth Bardsley said the worst-affected bus route was between Hornby and Southshore.

“Post-earthquake there has been significant disruption to our roading network in Christchurch.

“The traffic congestion can be really random, so it's hard to predict what times and days will be busy and for what reason."

Both bus companies suggested passengers catch earlier buses to allow for inevitable delays.

Environment Canterbury manager of passenger services David Stenhouse said changing bus routes were part of the rebuild of Christchurch. “We've been working with the various contractors so we know in advance when roading repairs and deviations are going to be put in place."

Road closure and public transport information can be found at www.transportforchch.govt.nz.

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