Who could fail to be impressed by the superb new level of bus services to Chrisrtchurch Airport, being implemented by Metro, beginning November 2nd?
Firstly, Metro has placed the Avonhead -Airport extension on as consistent and reliable base, a thirty minute service - every second daytime bus service, and every evening bus service, to Avonhead continues on to airport.
In a geographic sense this gives an added wing - three separate routes approaching the airport from different directions - the most direct 29 route via Fendalton and Memorial Avenue, the body of the bird, with one wing to the south, 3 route via Riccarton Road, University, Avonhead and Sheffield Park, and another wing to the north, 10 route via Papanui Road, Harewood Road. The latter two routes are the main tourist motel, hotel strips into the city, and 3 route also serve the university/prime student accommodation area.
But the most impressive thing - albeit it long overdue in many other parts of the city - is the absolute commitment to integration of timing. The three half hourly services depart the Airport in an integrated pattern that effectively gives a service departing the airport to city every 10 minutes, during the day and much of the evening, including Saturday.
The last weekday buses from the airport depart at 11.50pm (10 route) and 12.10 am and 1.00 am. (29 route)
A part from the 5 million airline passengers passing through Christchurch airport, a high proportion of whom probably just want to get to the city centre (or Bus exchange) the sooner the better, about 5000 people work in the area. The alternating pattern will advantage those that want to access The Orbiter, or The Metrostar - all three routes cross the path of these routes, at different points. Local users transferring to these cross town routes will have added choices, catch the next bus coming even if means joining the crosstown routes further back along the route, or wait for their specific more direct service in 10 or 20 minutes. Especially in cold or inclement weather, I'd rather be moving, sitting in a bus, enjoying the ride -if it is 10 minute wait versus a 10 minute extra bus journey, I'll take the ride almost every time.
Although the wabit's ears are twitching about late night (Monday-Thursday) cuts on his home routes - earlier finish times of services on accessible routes chopping 30 minutes off his evening (or adding $10 plus cab fare) he is not going to be churlish about the airport service - definitely 5 carrot gold stuff!