Smart map helps plans for on-demand transport

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A giant, interactive map of Timaru is helping Environment Canterbury (ECan) assess its on-demand public transport proposals.

At a recent sustainability festival in Timaru 60 people took part in an exercise to map their travel, including any journeys they would like to make using the new service.

Isabelle Bromham, ECan’s public transport community engagement adviser, said the mapping exercise was a great way to start conversations with people about the service.

“We ask people to plot on the map their departure and destination points, including places they would like to travel to.

“People who currently use the bus, mark their bus trips and end destinations, while those who don’t use public transport identify where they would like the on-demand service to take them.”

ECan would use the map results to identify popular spots, including those which could benefit from infrastructure such as a freephone to order the service.

Early next year, a two-month pilot service will involve passengers using a mobile phone app, or phoning a call centre, to pick up a bus at a requested stop-off point. It would be trialled for 12 months.

The Timaru Link, the Temuka service, and scheduled school services would continue but on-demand transport would replace the current Grantlea, Watlington and Gleniti services.