Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Will Christchurch public transport ever reach this level?

Photo filched from Minnesota Sta-Tribune (see link below) Thanks

This is one of the new door level stops (mini-stations) on the new Bus Rapid Transit line in Minnesota

If people are even one tiny bit serious about creating effective public transport; serious about attracting people out of cars and creating more pleasant liveable and likeable streets and communities; if people serious about reducing the fossil fuel use causing massive rapid climate change with  devastating effects (even now in the rich countries!); this where public transport must go. On all major bus urban and provincial bus routes - quality public transport!

Sure, light rail has its tiny place in this world, it is  a system that will need to be introduced, AFTER a city has multiple effective bus rapid transit corridors and one or two of them warrant upgrading to light rail . This is usually when traffic on a single corridor exceeds 7000 passengers an hour in peak hours. Not likely in New Zealand routes at this stage. In the meantime let's build a fast efficient effective bus NETWORK - not separate lines but an effective INTEGRATED NETWORK that allows bus passengers to travel in every possible direction with ease, simple systematic and reliable transfers,  and fast journey times, even during peak rush hours.  

We have all the technology in the world already to put bus systems on equal footing with private car use, but our bus systems are run by politicians and administrators who are only pretending they are committed to public transport. In Christchurch, for all the hard work that is put by Metro planners, with out adequate financial or political backing, without a City Council backing public transport (except for  a few "big note projects") Christchurch still operates what is essentially a bus service based on concepts of fifty years ago, no segregated busway corridors, no separate underpasses or "cut throughs", minimal bus lanes (and these only operate part time; part way and often not through the actual key choke point areas!); next to no specially activated traffic signals or 7 day a week stents; irregular patterns that are not based on transfer needs.  

My guess is that it will take at least another ten years -perhaps 20! - before we see specialised bus "free run" corridors and proper dedicated bus laning, including absolutely segregated bus bays at major stops that will allow this sort of door level loading. 

We are talking about a total land use area of perhaps 0.05% of total city land area to create an effective 21st century bus service but that is far beyond the vision or courage of any car driving politician! 

The idea that Christchurch is some sort of "green" city or advanced leader in public transport and active modes (transit and active) is farcial, it is far behind where it should be in transit development and has significantly failed to use public transport to assist post earthquake recovery.

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