A major overhaul of Timaru's bus routes, including an "orbiter" service, could be running by January.
Environment Canterbury began consultation on changes to the town's bus routes about 2 years ago, but the earthquakes, and the pressure it placed on Christchurch's infrastructure, caused delays.
However, ECan's southern area transport officer Tony Henderson said it was now in its final stages of development, and a pamphlet advertising the likely new routes would go out next week.
"It has taken its time, but there are reasons for that. Most of the transport staff have been dedicated to the issues in Christchurch," Mr Henderson said.
At the moment, Timaru has four separate routes - Gleniti, Grantlea, Marchwiel and South End. However, ECan proposes to replace these four routes with four new ones - Timaru Orbiter, North, West and South.
"This is something that has received a lot of feedback and support from Timaru, and we're keen to ensure it's the best outcome for everyone," Mr Henderson said.
The major change will be the introduction of an orbiter route, which would go down Cain St, past Timaru Girls' High School, and through to the hospital.
"The orbiter route will have two buses travelling in opposite directions, giving passengers greater flexibility and quicker journeys," Mr Henderson said.
The proposed routes will operate from Monday to Saturday. Hours of operation will be 7am to 6pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 5pm on Saturdays. No changes are planned for the Temuka service.
ECan has received more than 700 submissions from the Timaru public throughout consultation.
Mr Henderson said several changes had been made since the initial consultation, particularly in response to concern about a possible lack of coverage in the Gleniti area near the Strathallan Rest Home.
Mr Henderson said ECan was going through the final stages of consultation, with people able to provide feedback on the changes until October 12.
"Once this consultation has finished, changes will be confirmed in November and the new services will start in January or February next year," he said.
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