Saturday, June 25, 2011

Metro to cut and burn quieter routes ?

NZ in Tranzit - suspicious of what is going in Christchurch!

Destined to be a very rare image for busspotters. The 740 service at the Ohinetahi Terminus,
on the short-lived Governors Bay-Cashmere Road run, about to depart early February 2011

Last year the National Government instituted a fairly tough fare-box  recovery requirement for public transport authorities in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

This requires 50% of operating costs to be met by fares paid by passengers.

How this 50% is defined  - whether per route or across the network averaged out is not set out - indeed in the NZ Transport Agency statement of May 28th last year it implies that it is up to each regional council to determine this

NZTA Regional Partnerships and Planning Group Manager Dave Brash says the policy agreed by the NZTA’s Board in April requires all regional councils to set their own farebox recovery policies and ratios by 1 January 2012 as part of their Regional Public Transport Plans. A farebox recovery ratio measures the proportion of the operating costs of public transport services covered by fares, and is typically expressed as a percentage. 

However what ECan is telling patrons, via the Metro Facebook, has a different emphasis; -

"Hi Mark, the 740 Govenors Bay service will no longer operate due to financial constraints and a lack of cost recovery by the service before the quakes. Central government expect a cost recovery on all services of 50%, the 740 only reached 9%, as the earthquakes have cost us a lot financially we had to cut this service. The residents of Govenors Bay were notified of this in a public meeting last week."

Which produced a subsequent enquiry

"However, Metro does plan to reinstate this service in due course?, once the rest of the Christchurch is sorted (however long that takes), if/when they restart the 740, it should run the extra 1km or so to Barrington shopping centre."
Metro replied

"Hi Joshua, the 740 won't be returning. Over the next few months we're going to work with the Governors Bay community to look at other public transport options"

What can Metro patrons read into this - a few porkies being told?   Or is this the first hint of an Environment Canterbury policy of cut and burn that will undermine frequency and service spread, equitable access tofro all parts of the city?
Recently Metro cut out a poorly planned and briefly trialled service to Governors Bay, route 740 - which had anyway been curtailed by earthquake factors. This is a steep alpine style road with continuing minor [but in severe earthquake who knows?] rock falls. It would hardly be surprising if operators could not get public liability insurance on this road.. Adding earthquakes to this volatile eroding terrain will also close down dozens of walking tracks - a much needed added source of patronage that might have been possible.

1 comment:

  1. It does make you wonder, Im just glad the 480 made it back okay, one hopes that the upgrade which included 7 days a week service to Kaiapoi continues later on and bus travel from Marshlands (which will grow with the increase housing from Highfield (?) and Prestons subdivisions. Sure Metro could get funding to cover these services due to the quake?