With the recent news that Metro are looking at introducing a Governors Bay bus service, it has given me time to think about other places that might justify such a service.
Christchurch is surrounded by fast growing urban satellites, namely Rangiora, Kaiapoi, Woodend/Pegasus, Rolleston, Prebbleton & Lincoln. All these areas are served by frequent bus services (I do have an immense problem with the Rolleston service, but that is for another post) which run into the main Christchurch urban area and link into the rest of the bus system.
Christchurch is also surrounded by a number of other centres, more rural in nature yet close enough to the City that good transport links are an important issue. Oxford, West Melton, Darfield and perhaps even Amberley come to my mind. These areas are not really part of Greater Christchurch (well perhaps West Melton is) but certainly Christchurch is important to these centres for business, shopping and recreation, and a substantial number of people regularly commute from these centres every day into the City.
If a Governors Bay bus service is being given serious thought, then why not these other centres? The population for Governors Bay is 873 (2006 Census) while the population for Darfield is 1485, West Melton 5613, Oxford 1716, and Amberley 1302. Now I’m not saying that population alone justifies a bus service, certainly the number of daily commuters does, but what I am saying is that the method of service for Governors Bay could act as a template for services to other semi-urban towns around Christchurch. If an hourly shuttle service linking into a busier route works for Govenors Bay, then I can see this approach being replicated elsewhere. For example, Oxford-Rangiora, & Darfield/West Melton-Bush Inn.
However, the service needs to get off the ground first as it is still only in the consultation stages. If it does get off the ground though, it will pay to watch how it develops as it may have ramifications for these other centres. The Governors Bay bus service might well prove to be a good litmus test.