Friday, December 9, 2011
New link services too little, too late and blatantly insulting to eastern bus users and ratepayers.
Metro Christchurch has finally addressed the complete collapse of bus services to large areas of eastern Christchurch following last February's major earthquake.
Ecan has announced two new link bus services to the Dallington, Avonside, Aranui and Avondale areas.
Ecan have introduced a token service, two shuttle links with good route structures but so limited in service spread and frequency schedule they do not even offer peak hour services [see here]
This means high school students and workers will still have to walk 15-20 minutes to get to a city bus stop, despite the fact they or their parents are paying full transport rates to Ecan.
A second fact is if vehicles can negotiate roadworks on this shuttle routes four times a day, why not eight times a day, or sixteen times a day?? The north, west and southern suburbs have almost all city to suburb services running half hourly day/hourly evening, approx twenty five trips each way a day.
In contrast for these eastern residents, already under stress from quake damage, to access anywhere in the city they must make a transfer, in most cases at Eastgate or The Palms, and quite possibly another transfer at the city bus exchange to get to work, study or social locations elsewhere. Everyone who has lived through the last nine months of the Council/ Ecan appalling muck up - the disastrous twin bus exchange concept - knows that double transfer can take hours! One missed connection at The Palms and some one (including the elderly or those with mobility handicaps) could have to wait two hours to get to Dallington Bridge. Its not on.
The new Links are such a pathetic response, so late, so limited, so insulting to people who pay for an adequate bus service and in some cases depend upon it, one can only be suspicious that The Ecan junta, has got the word from higher up in the National Government that the Nats want to pull the plug on decent public transport and need to drive people away from using buses, downgrade the image and quality of bus services!
If so the earthquake recovery chaos offering an excellent disguise to do so - these are huge cuts - the biggest I can remember since all evening bus services were reduced 50% in about 1979. It would be extraordinary to think Ecan could cut bus services so severely - upto 50-70% reduction in some major route corridors NOT blocked by earthquake damage such as Gloucester Street; Tuam Street-Harrow Street; Wainoni Road, Linwood Avenue without huge outcry if politicians and community leaders were not so distracted with other big issues.
NZ in Tranzit says do the decent thing Metro!!
(a) double the service frequency, even an hourly service is pathetic but it would at least place eastside services on par with some of the other quieter city routes, not a totally inferior service. No body should have to wait two hours for a missed bus or connection!
(b) run services 7am - 8pm minimum. People have to get to work or school or can't visit friends crosstown or shop in the city etc under the curfew effect of this ridiculously limited time frame. A public authority elected in part to help the transport disadvantaged and public transport dependent have dignity and freedom of mobility does the opposite and places a tight middle of the day only curfew upon these people.
(c) restore a direct city link to North Linwood to Woodham Road area - perhaps an amalgam of the inner suburb parts of the 83-84 routes - why should an eastern route corridor not damaged by earthquakes have a 50% cut (66% if you add in 21,83,84 as previously all offering access to this higher density, North Linwood/Avonside area) while the people of Ilam, Avonhead, Papanui and Belfast etc etc still get four or more services an hour?? Why should North Linwood, Avonside and Dallington people near undamaged sections of route not have bus services, brought within easier walking range?
Christchurch people pay transport rates (directly or inherent in their rent to landlords) why should the bus user needs and services requirements of the east - the areas that taken the hardest blow from earthquake effects - already suffering financial stress be be treated with such contempt by people who are paid hundreds of dollars every time they attend a meeting?**
** The Chair of Ecan Dame Margaret Bazley receives $1400 per meeting; the members $900 per meeting. This of course is before tax, presumes they bring to their position superior management skills and spend a lot of time outside the meeting studying reports and analysing and creating effective solutions.
Nine months to organise two very part time vans ? Yeah right!