© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2020

Environment Canterbury could bring it's own 'Uber' to Christchurch

Nick James
ecan building
Picture of ECAN building  Nick James

Environment Canterbury plans to trial on-demand transport in Timaru next year with a view to bringing it to Christchurch.

Timaru's transport system will be overhauled early next year to trial an on-demand public transport service which could come to Christchurch.  

The system will involve an app on transport user's phones like current ride sharing apps such as Uber or Ola, with the hope it could give corner to corner coverage in areas that don't currently offer fixed routes. 

Stewart Gibbon, Senior Manager Public Transport said that the system will make transport more relevant to more people and will offer "more personalized services, more accessible services and more flexible services". 

Gibbon also said if all goes well with the trial greater Christchurch could expect to see a similar system in two years. 

Former Christchurch City Council engineer and ECAN candidate, Axel Wilke said the Timaru project is interesting but he has concerns based on a trial on Devonport, Auckland, which currently is being tested.

"Currently it would be cheaper for them to give money to pay for an Uber," he said.  

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Wilke said Christchurch's major public transport problem is most routes that go to the suburbs do not connect to the central city and that there is "absolutely zero reliability on your journey you will have a connection".

He said he was uncertain the on-demand system will fix it.

Interview between Nick James and Axel Wilke

The Timaru trial will start at in early 2020, with a two month closed pilot, then will open to the public for 12 months.

Interview between Nick James and Stewart Gibbon