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With the move to Covid-19 Alert Level 3, Environment Canterbury (ECan) has brought Timaru’s Link bus service alongside the MyWay by Metro on-demand service.

ECan’s senior manager public transport, Stewart Gibbon, said increasing the availability of public transport services was the first step in the journey to a semblance of normality.

“We know some of those going back to work or school at Level 3 will need public transport as an important part of their day. Starting on Tuesday this week [April 28] Timaru’s public transport is back on track.

“Before the Covid-19 pandemic, our plans were that the MyWay service would replace the Gleniti, Grantlea and Watlington services from mid-April, with the Timaru Link and Temuka services continuing. As of Tuesday, this will be the case,” he said.

MyWay by Metro would operate 7am-7pm, Monday to Friday, and 8am-6pm on weekends and public holidays. Booking and service information was available at mywaybymetro.co.nz. The Timaru Link and a revised Temuka timetable were available at metroinfo.co.nz/timaru.

The physical distancing requirement would mean that, depending on the vehicle, a smaller number of passengers than usual could be carried. The Timaru Link buses usually carried about eight people, and the MyWay vehicles could carry three or four.

Mr Gibbon said that although fewer people should be travelling on public transport, the possibility of capacity constraints meant that people should allow plenty of time to reach their destination.

“If the vehicle has reached its allowed capacity, these physical distancing requirements mean it will not be able to pick up additional passengers. We will do our best to limit the impact of this.

“We really appreciate everyone’s patience and kindness as we work within the limitations in place to keep everyone safe,” he said.

“Public transport can be used for those that need to travel but we do need everyone to be aware there will be limited capacity, and please try and avoid peak times unless you are a worker or are travelling to an educational facility.”

Keeping drivers safe was a top priority for ECan and bus operators, Mr Gibbon said.

“To maintain physical distancing between passengers and drivers, fares will not be required during the Level 3 period and the Timaru Link and Temuka buses will be boarded from the rear doors.

“Ritchies will continue the regular deep cleaning of all vehicles. The vehicles have a full interior clean daily, with touch points cleaned after each journey, and a full weekly groom.

“Link and Temuka passengers are requested to record their travel on the Contact Tracing app at ecan.govt.nz/trace,” he added.

The Metro school service would resume where there was a need for it.

For booking a shared ride in a MyWay vehicle:

Call 03688-5544, or

Download the MyWay by Metro app for easy bookings.