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In-road bus stops to be trialled along Hills Road in Christchurch

8 September 2006

Christchurch’s Hills Road, which runs north from the central city towards QEII Drive in the suburb of Mairehau, will be used to test a passenger pick-up system called a bus boarder which is designed to ensure buses run on time.

The trial will see two stops,  between Edgeware and Shirley roads, built out from the kerbside on the north-bound lane. With bus boarders, instead of pulling out of traffic to pick up and drop off passengers, the bus will simply stop. Drivers of other vehicles behind a bus will have to wait for a short time.

The trial is likely to run from mid-October until early next year and was approved by the Council’s Shirley/Papanui Community Board at its meeting this week.

“It’s the same kind of system that we have on parts of Memorial Avenue, but that has two lanes in either direction so drivers can move into the outside lane when they see a bus is about to stop in the inside lane,” says community board chair Yvonne Palmer.

“On Hills Road there is only one lane in either direction and we’re interested to see what impact this system has on buses running on time and on other vehicles using the road.

“Hills Road is very busy after work and often drivers do not let buses back out into the traffic flow. There’s evidence to suggest it won’t take commuters any longer than an ordinary light phase and they should remember that buses running on time makes them more attractive to users and each full bus means around 40 fewer vehicles on the road,” Mrs Palmer says.

The trial is one of a number of bus measures being considered as the council moves to deal with increasing congestion.  The work is in keeping with the targets of the City Council and Environment Canterbury’s joint Public Passenger Transport Strategy. The aims of this strategy are to increase the use of buses, reduce the amount of car use and avoid the undesirable effects of growing traffic congestion, including increased traffic noise, pollution and reduced safety on our roads.
Lack of speed and growing unreliability were identified during public consultation on the strategy as the most important factors preventing Christchurch residents from using buses more often. These can most easily be addressed by giving our buses assistance on congested roads.

● Look here for more information about the council’s bus priority plans and the Public Passenger Transport Strategy

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