Review of Metrostar & Orbiter services

Posted on February 12, 2011 by


Christchurch’s two cross-city bus services, the Metrostar and Orbiter, are under review this year, and that means the public gets the chance to give their feedback on the services and ideas for improvement.

While the focus is mainly on improving the services (reliability, capacity, frequency etc ), it is being proposed that the Metrostar, which currently runs from New Brighton to Halswell via Riccarton and Hornby, be extended into a full loop service similar to the Orbiter (except probably a much larger one). There is no indication of where this extension might run (although I’m guessing through Sydenham and Woolston) and there is a very conspicuous ‘get-out’ clause on the feed back form (“subject to sufficient funding being available”).

The six stage process will involve two rounds of public consultation, with any final changes not due to be implemented until June 2012! Nevertheless, these are two very important public transport routes (Metro say the Orbiter has been the number one bus route for ten years) and their importance will only increase as we improve the public transport system (particularly if rail comes to fruition). So I encourage you to have a think and provide some feedback. Metro have provided some questions to think about when providing feedback:

  • Do the current services meet your needs?
  • What could be done to make these services better?
  • What do you like most/least about these services?
  • What could be done to encourage you to use them more?

Some changes I would like to see? Certainly they need to find a way to avoid bunching. There is no point in having 10 minute frequencies if the buses are running nose to tail in groups of three or four. I once waited 40 minutes for the Orbiter at rush hour! The best way to avoid this would be to roll out bus priority measures, such as bus lanes and bus signals, along the routes. Bigger capacity buses on the Orbiter would also be great as the buses are clearly too small to handle the rush hour and school crowds.  In fact, I would almost suggest they ditch a timetable on the Orbiter altogether and just put more buses on (with bus priority measures in place). Maybe a bit extreme, but it’s just an idea to get some thought going.

Anyway, it seems consultation runs until March and you can win a $30 Metrocard top-up voucher (seems a bit small to me, maybe they could offer a bit more?). For more click here.