29 Nov 2019

Bus fare hike and tech provider for new service announced

7:08 pm on 29 November 2019

The foreign technology provider for a new on-demand bus service in Timaru has been announced, but so too has a price hike.

2018 Nov 2nd, New Zealand, Timaru, View of the town building and people in the morning.

Timaru will get a 14-month trial of an on-demand bus service. Photo: 123RF

Earlier this year, Canterbury Regional Council and New Zealand Transport Agency approved a 14-month trial of an on-demand bus service.

After a two-month pilot beginning in February, a trial of the on-demand service will get under way in April.

Instead of operating to a set timetable on set routes, buses will pick people up from near where they are and take them to near their requested destination. A bus pick up will be booked via a smart phone, the website, or by calling a service centre.

Council Timaru operations manager Judith Earl-Goulet said American company Via would supply the technology, with current operator Ritchies providing the buses.

Bus fares will rise from $2.50 for an adult paying cash to $3.

For adults paying with a Metrocard, the price will increase from $1.65, to $2.

Costs of running project

Earlier this year, the council said it had hoped to keep the costs of the project confidential until the operator and technology partners had been appointed, but the project costs were released at Parliamentary question time.

It said the maximum project cost was $2.18m, with the NZTA funding 51 percent of the cost.

Elements covered included the technology, vehicles, operating costs and a very significant effort in community engagement, the council said.

The figure also included continuing to run the existing service and a 15 percent contingency, it said.

Timaru's current bus service costs about $1m per year.

  • On-demand bus system trial for Timaru approved