Visitors and residents alike loved the free central city Shuttle. It was introduced in 1998 and ceased operating with the February 2011 earthquake. Shall we have it back? Well, many reports later, it doesn't seem to be happening.
Axel presented an alternative concept at the 2020 Transportation Conference. Dubbed "Zone 0" as a play on the existing public transport fare zone structure, the proposal is to make all buses free within the city's four avenues for Metrocard holders. The benefits are:
- much cheaper to run than to reintroduce the Shuttle
- better level of service (better geographic coverage; higher frequency on many corridors)
- exposes opportunistic users to the public transport system and would attract many of paying users
The presentation explores the potential that this initiative has in reversing bus patronage, a decline that started in 2014 despite a strong return of employment to the central city.
Transportation Group NZ Conference 2020, Christchurch