MyWay Metro bus use improves

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by Chris Tobin

Early indications show more people use the MyWay Metro service compared with the former bus service in Timaru.

Between June 22 and July 13, Environment Canterbury (ECan) statistics showed there were an average of 313 boardings a day on MyWay during the week.

The three terminated bus routes had 233 boardings during the corresponding period last year.

Unlike the former bus service, MyWay operated at weekends. In the above-mentioned period there were 128 boardings a day.

“We do not have specific patronage targets for the service,” ECan operations manager Timaru Judith Earl-Goulet said.

A breakdown of the financial cost of the MyWay service during the period to compare with the former bus routes was not available.

“The maximum project cost is $2.18million,” Ms Earl-Goulet said.

“This includes the cost of continuing to run the existing Link service and a 15% contingency. The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) is funding 51% of the project’s pilot and year-long trial.

“Through the 12-month trial, we aim to determine if the service is viable in Timaru.

“We also want to measure the community’s adoption and perception of on-demand public transport.

“Within that, we do expect to carry at least as many passengers as the current service.”

She said the 12-month trial period also involved a transition from the existing service, when The Link continued to run in tandem with the on-demand service for a while.

“Our extensive feasibility study in 2018-19 reviewed similar trials running internationally, and identified that for on-demand public transport to be successful, taking the community with us on this journey is really critical for success.

“Our in-depth community engagement work across Timaru has reiterated this.”