ECan reports that the bikes on buses scheme has been extended. Originally the scheme was only for bikes travelling through Lyttleton tunnel, and (if I recall correctly) bikes were only loaded on for the duration of the tunnel. In just a couple of years from that very humble beginning, there are now 12 routes, covering the longest or hilliest journeys:
- 35 Riccarton-Heathcote
- 90 Rangiora
- 92 Rangiora via Woodend and Waikuku
- 3 Airport-Sumner via Avonhead
- 7 Halswell
- 77 Kennedy’s Bush
- 11 Styx Mill-Westmorland
- 14 Harewood-Dyers Pass
- 15 Bishopdale-Beckenham
- 18 St Albans-Huntsbury
- 21 Ilam-Mt Pleasant
- 28 Lyttelton and Rapaki
Bikes can also be taken on the Diamond Harbour ferry for an additional charge.
Metro has really led the way in bike/bus integration in NZ, and is currently way out in front of Auckland or Wellington. This should be pretty obvious stuff, Christchurch is mostly very flat and is easy to cycle around (provided one stays away from the natives). There’s also been a big expansion of cycleways in recent years, including cycleways that are off main roads.
There’s still a couple of issues – the buses can’t enter the Bus Exchange building with bikes loaded, which affects the 3, 7, and 35 routes. The other routes stop at the external platforms. That means that the cyclist travelling through the central city has to get off one stop away, unload their bike, cycle past the bus exchange to the next stop, and reload their bike at that next stop. While I don’t think that that affects very many cyclists currently, it means that the bikes-on-buses scheme doesn’t link into the lock-and-ride facilities at the Exchange, which is one of the only such facilities in the country.
The other is the lack of service in the south-west and north-east, particularly Hornby and Lincoln, and New Brighton. This can be easily fixed however, adding the bike service to the 5 Hornby-Southshore and 81 Lincoln would cover all of those areas nicely, and hopefully we’ll see those changes soon. When the Hornby Exchange is built, having a lock-and-ride facility and bike racks on buses would give great intermodal coverage for the western city.
Even better, if Metro ever considers a public bike system (like Paris’ Velib), having those facilities and a good network of bike-capable routes would give Christchurch one of the best bike/bus public transport networks in the world, and by far the best in the Southern Hemisphere. Until then, be content that progress is being made…