What will 2011 bring?

Posted on January 8, 2011 by

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Over the holidays I thought about writing a ‘year in review’ type post. 2010 was certainly a year of some note, particularly with the local elections, earthquake, and the bus debacle that resulted in CBS being sold to Hamilton based Go Bus and threats from ECan to terminate recently awarded contracts. With the local elections, we saw transport become a major political issue, for probably the first time in many years, despite some politicians attempts to deny it.

However, I decided that was too painful and instead to post on some things we have to look forward to in 2011! So here we go:

Underground Transport Interchange

The last site has been purchased and, with an opening date of 2014, we might just see some construction this year. At the very least, we should be able to see some more detailed plans, including how it might accomodate light-rail/trams etc. Then we can all have a big debate on it! It will be interesting to see how it progresses with the current Council make up.

More Bus Lanes

Bus lanes kind of went AWOL during 2010, but it seems they will be back on the radar in 2011 with consultation on the next phase due to begin (or so I am told by the Council). However, I would expect to see a new timetable for implementation unfolded. Hopefully the bus lanes site is updated during 2011 as well!

Motorways

We really need to get some photos sorted for the Southern Motorway! I went past the other day (forgot my camera!) and was surprised at how far this project is coming along. 2011 should see more detailed plans for the Northern Motorway extension and the Western Bypass released.

Tram Extension

Yep, the first stage of the tram extension opens in 2011! I really think this is going to be a great success but there are two things I really believe are necessary for it to happen. First, a fare restructure. Perhaps the Council could subsidise to make the tram the same cost as a zone one bus (or free!) and do a deal with ECan to integrate it into the metrocard scheme? Perhaps it could be brought under the Metro banner altogether? (probably unlikely). Whatever, it needs to be more affordable and user-friendly as far as fares go. It makes sense with the new territory it will be running through (i.e. not a tourist trap location). Second, start moving it towards a light-rail type operation. That kinda ties in with the fare restructure but other things could be done, such as promoting further extensions (AMI, Ferrymead and Sumner in one direction, Riccarton, University and Airport in another?) and perhaps importing a modern light-rail vehicle to run around the tracks at some point to give people an idea of what is possible (Auckland might be doing just that for the Rugby World Cup – C’mon Christchurch, lets stay ahead!).

Rail Investigation

An investigation into rail was approved by Councillors last June with the intention to assess costs for inclusion in the 2011 council budget. This investigation appears to be taking a wide stance (‘streetcars’ were mentioned amongst other rail related ideas) and it will be interesting to see what the new look Council will do with it. Anyway, this is something to very much look forward to in 2011 as we may finally start to see some detailed plans of what this ‘rail system for Christchurch’ might look like and how it might all work.

Bus Improvements

The bus system took a beating at the end of 2010. Some items to bring back the smiles include the possibility of funding for suburban interchanges (I really want to see what these might look like before I get excited), a new fare zone and services for the Waimakariri area, completion of the Metrocard upgrade, and hopefully an idea on what Metrocard2 might entail.

So, there we have it. Not a bad list really, I’m hoping that 2011 will be a year that progress is actually made. There are probably a few things I missed out so feel free to list some more. So forget 2010 and its bad buses and earthquakes. Bring on 2011 I say!

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