Most of Christchurch’s bus services will return to their normal timetables from Monday 31 January.
For the last eight weeks, Environment Canterbury (ECan) has been running many routes across the public transport network in Christchurch to a Saturday timetable because of a national bus driver shortage.
From Monday though the only service that will be operating on a reduced timetable will be the Orbiter, which will run about every 15 minutes.
ECan will continue to work with the operator to bring the Orbiter back to its regular 10-minute weekday frequency once driver staffing levels allow.
ECan general manager of public transport Stewart Gibbon says he is pleased to see most services returning to normal in what has been a difficult situation for both passengers and operators.
“We would like to thank our customers for their patience and understanding during this challenging time,” he says.
“While the change to a Saturday schedule was necessary to reduce the number of cancellations and give customers more certainty, we understand the disruption that this has caused for many customers.
“We would also like to thank our operator who we have been working closely with over the past two months, for their commitment and focus to resume normal services as quickly as possible. We are pleased that normal timetables will resume in time for the start of the school year, and when there is most pressure on the network,'' Mr Gibbon says.
“The driver shortage is an issue affecting the public transport industry across all of New Zealand and we would like to acknowledge the effort of all our operators in recruiting and maintaining drivers in this challenging environment.
“While we are uncertain what the future will bring with the country currently bracing for more Covid-19 cases and the impact this might have, we are pleased that for the time being we will be able to provide more frequent and reliable services once again,” Mr Gibbon says.
Online timetables and real-time displays will be updated to reflect the updated, regular weekday timetables for services that were affected. Orbiter services will continue to appear in real-time on bus stop displays and the Metro Journey Planner.