Selwyn bus route axed

UNSUCCESSFUL: A bus trial running from Darfield through to West Melton and Christchurch has been discontinued.

Low patronage has led to the discontinuation of a bus service in Darfield and West Melton.

Public transport advocate Bus Go Canterbury has been left disappointed after Red Bus ceased a bus trial running from Darfield through to West Melton and Christchurch.

Red Bus previously gave the green light for the trial to run from February 7 after a successful meeting with Bus Go Canterbury.

But low patronage meant the bus service ended on March 9.

Bus Go Canterbury co-founder Nick Stoneman said he was disappointed but not surprised.

“We still maintain Darfield and West Melton should be on the network . . . it is not the size of Rolleston yet but it is getting there,” he said.

Patronage numbers were estimated to be between 15-20 in the morning and two to five passengers in the evenings during the trial.

Red Bus chief executive Paul McNoe said there were not enough people to make it commercially viable.

“The patronage would have almost needed to double to make it a commercial success,” he said.

But he said the effort put in by Bus Go Canterbury was appreciated. The bus service left Darfield at 7.15am and Christchurch at 5.30pm. Mr Stoneman said it tried to change the evening bus to 3.30pm to pick up school children but the idea did not gain traction with Red Bus.

Mr McNoe said this was because the survey indicated more people preferred a return time of 5.30pm. Residents travelling to and from Darfield were expected to pay $9 each way and children $6. Adults travelling from West Melton paid $6 each way while children paid $4.30, and residents travelling from Yaldhurst paid $5 and children $3.80.

Mr Stoneman said the cost of the fare was also “not productive”.

But Mr McNoe said if the fares had been halved more than four times the number of people would have needed to travel on the bus to make it viable.