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Last modified: 16 Mar 2021 10:30am

A man and a woman talk while standing on the bus

The 87 Southbridge – City trial bus service needs more regular use if it is to continue.

The trial bus service, run by Environment Canterbury, is for residents commuting to Christchurch city from Leeston, Doyleston, Irwell and Springston. It operates as an express service, running city-bound in the morning, and then City-Southbridge in the afternoon.

In a 2019 Southbridge/Leeston community survey of 200 people, almost all respondents supported the service. Currently, the service has around 28 boardings in total per day, mainly school children, with an extra 15 boardings per day on average needed to sustain the service, Environment Canterbury General Manager Public Transport Stewart Gibbon said.

With appropriate community support, the trial service has potential to provide a valuable, sustainable transport option for people working in the city. But, to keep the service viable, customer numbers need to increase, he said.

“Because there is a targeted rate for Leeston and Southbridge to cover this service, we need to make a call about continuation prior to Environment Canterbury’s Long-Term Plan being finalised.”

“Children are the main users of the service and we are aware that those students may rely on the service to get to and from school, but the service needs to be sustainable to justify a community charge through rates to continue it.”