Call to extend park and ride

PARK: The Canterbury District Health Board says extending the park and ride service to other buildings would mean the route would take too long.

More parking buildings should be included in the Christchurch Hospital park and ride service.

Central City Business Association chairman Brendan Chase said having the service extended to include a number of parking buildings would create a level playing field between the city council and private sector.

“It would give those people parking a little bit more choice. But it might help improve occupancy at some of the other parking buildings,” he said.

Mr Chase said the shuttle could run on a loop around several buildings along Lichfield, Tuam and Hereford Sts.

However, Canterbury District Health Board commercial portfolio manager Rachel Cadle said extending the service would cost too much and make the route take too long.

“We have looked carefully at all possible aspects of the hospital shuttle service. Extending the service to other buildings would require more shuttle buses, which are paid for by the CDHB, and would make journey times longer.”

The park and ride service moved from its flooded and
pothole-ridden site on Deans Ave to the city council’s 805-space Lichfield St parking building in July.

It came after an 18-month campaign by The Star.

Said Ms Cadle: “The new location is popular as it’s secure, accessible, well-lit, smooth-surfaced and under cover.”

Mr Chase said extending the service would also reduce the strain on the city council’s parking building.

“The Lichfield St parking building is often at capacity and a lot of that has to do with the park and ride,” he said.

Ms Cadle said while the park is often “quite full,” spaces do become available quickly.

“There are usually more free spaces on the upper floors and on the top deck (level eight) and there are lifts back down to the shuttle stop on level two.”

The new park and ride will run until the Ministry of Health finishes building a permanent car parking building in 2020.

More than 200 car parks have been set aside at the Metro Sports Facility site for hospital staff.