What happened to our bus lanes?

Posted on December 4, 2010 by


There seems to be a lot of talk about public transport improvements in Christchurch, but very little actually happening. For example, we hear a lot about rail and light-rail these days but there has been little detail about what that actually is, how it might work, what it might look like, and so on. Essentially, no serious action plan has been produced (contrast this with Wellingtons light-rail plans; everyone seems to know where it will go and why).

The same could be said for the roll out of bus lanes in Christchurch. A simple, effective public transport improvement that has been adopted in cities around the world, yet somehow has taken an age to be rolled out in this city. Well ‘rolled out’ is probably a bit misleading because the rolling seems to have slowed down some what. The time it is taking for this to happen is causing me some concern. A quick glance at the Christchurch bus lanes website reveals this:

  • Papanui / Belfast via Papanui Road and Main North Road (NZTA/CCC)
  • Colombo Street South (to be implemented 2009)
  • Queenspark Bus Route, via Hills Road, Shirley Road and New Brighton Road (to be implemented 2009)
  • Hornby / Sockburn, via Main South Road (to be implemented 2010) (NZTA)
  • Travis Road / Bassett Street Intersection (LTCCP implementation 2010/11)
  • Main South Road, Riccarton Road, Riccarton Avenue (LTCCP implementation 2010/11)
  • New Brighton Bus Route, via Pages Road (LTCCP implementation 2011/12)
  • Sumner Bus Route, via Main Road and Ferry Road (LTCCP implementation 2013/14)
  • Halswell Bus Route, via Lincoln Road (LTCCP implementation 2013/14)
  • Cranford Street (LTCCP implementation 2017/18)
  • Orbiter Bus Route (LTCCP implementation 2014/15)
  • MetroStar Bus Route (LTCCP implementation 2015/16)
  • Okay, so Papanui/Main North Rd, Colombo St South and Queenspark we can tick. However, from there on in I start to get worried. Bus lanes should be coming thick and fast and, considering how long we had to wait for them, the thicker and faster the better! We should be about half-way down this list by now, yet I know we are not. Of further concern, the bus lanes website, which should be the ideal place to obtain up-to-date information, looks like it hasn’t been touched in quite a while. The last ‘update’ was January 2010, about the Colombo Street South project. The last media release is dated 28 October 2009, and there are only two of them anyway.

    So what is going on? I keep waiting for some ‘big announcement’ to do with public transport in this city, yet it never seems to come and I am starting to give up hope. I thought at least we would continue to get our bus system sorted pending the development of a rapid transit backbone for the future, but even this does not seem to be happening. Since the Christmas/New Year period is coming up, I hold little hope for any progress/news until well into 2011.