The government is putting an additional $78 million into public transport in Christchurch, which will boost the number of buses by more than 100 and build more bus lanes and shelters.
Minister of Transport Michael Wood made the announcement at the Christchurch bus interchange on Friday.
The investment is a direct Crown contribution, reallocated from the Northern Pathway project – which was set to provide a walking and cycling link between Auckland’s city centre and the North Shore – and is in addition to the usual Waka Kotahi subsidy.
Wood said the money would accelerate the Greater Christchurch Public Transport Futures Bus Improvements programme over five to six years, about half the time originally anticipated.
The programme aims to deliver about 100 more buses, more than 470 more bus shelters, almost 200 real time display units, and 22km of bus lanes.
Wood hoped the investment would reduce emissions and encourage more people to use public transport.
“Greater Christchurch will see an increase in annual public transport trips by 3.5 million, supporting a reduction in emissions by around 20,600 tonnes of CO2 through until 2030,” he said.
“Our government is committed to making it more affordable, easier and attractive for Kiwis to use public transport.”
Wood said he was confident drivers could be found for the 100 new buses the Government was funding.
He said good progress was being made in reducing the driver shortage, with the city now only short of 49 drivers.
The Government had invested $60m and developed an industry standard to bring up bus drivers’ pay and conditions, he added.
Legislation will be introduced to replace the public transport operating model that drove down pay and conditions.
Waka Kotahi will be working with the Greater Christchurch partners this year to further refine the Public Transport Futures programme details, Wood said.
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Source by [earlynews24.com]