We have an efficient public transport system in Christchurch. All our local buses (Red Bus, Leopard, Christchurch Bus Services, Orbiter, Metrostar, and the Diamond Harbour Ferry) come under the umbrella of “Metro” and their tickets transfer from one bus to another. Each ticket lasts 2 hours and you can use it as a return ticket or for one transfer in a different direction.
Let me walk you through a trip to Lyttelton, our port suburb, just over the hill – or through a tunnel if you’re on the bus. (if you travel on a Saturday you’ll find the fabulous Lyttelton Farmers Market at the end of the route at Lyttelton Main School – I recommend you try some SHE Chocolat)
#28 is the bus you will catch, and this route starts and ends at Peterborough St (near the Casino) but most people will catch all the buses at the ‘bus exchange’ which has entrances on both Colombo St and Lichfield Streets. This bus leaves from the Colombo St platform. ( Inside the exchange is where you can pick up all your timetables – these are all available online too.
Pay cash as you board the bus and always get on via the front door (even on the free inner-city yellow shuttle) take your ticket and don’t loose it! This ticket lasts 2-hours and you can use it as your return ticket or for one transfer in a different direction. (the 2hours starts when you buy it and is valid as long as you are back on a bus within the 2hrs: Two hours and 2 mins is too late! Of course if you catch the Diamond Harbour Ferry from Lyttelton you will not be back in time to use your bus ticket and of course you will have used the ticket on the boat.
The small print: in other words, a locals hints and advice
- Change is given but please be considerate to our drivers. It’s easier if you don’t offer higher denomination notes as they may not have enough change.
- Children under-5 years-of-age, accompanied by a fare-paying passenger, travel free
- Signage is a simple sign on a lamppost! Some stops have seats and shelters
- Many stops have real-time information about the various buses and when they will arrive.
- All buses stop at the bus exchange EXCEPT the Orbiter and Metrostar
- There are 3 bus routes that travel to & from the airport (#3, #10, #29)
- #3 is a good option for going to Sumner beach and #5 (& others) will take you to the New Brighton beaches
- Do wave your hand to get picked up by the bus – many bus-stops are shared by different routes and the driver will sail on by if you don’t indicate it’s his bus you want.
- The route number and a name are displayed on the front of the bus
- To get off push the small square buzzer near your seat, or in some buses, pull a cord that runs the length of the bus above the windows
- Do leave the seats that have spaces for wheel chairs or prams (baby buggy) for people who need them.
- Don’t eat or drink on the buses.
- Texting is fine but please keep your voice down if you have to talk on the phone!
- Children are expected to stand to give adults a seat – but this seems to be ignored by many lately
- And, most of us call out a ‘thank you’ to the driver as we get off!
- Finally, if you’re in Christchurch for a week or more, my advice is get a Metrocard as it this the easiest and cheapest way to travel on Metro buses. This e-card deducts your fare when you board the bus – just place it on the special pad beside the driver. Metrocard is free: all you have to do is load $10 onto it for it to work. Thereafter, you can recharge your card with a minimum of $10. It also gives generous discounts i.e. with Metrocard, you pay $2.30 (the current price) adult per trip instead of the $3.20 cash adult fare AND you get charged a maximum of $4.60 per day even if you make 10 or more trips. Top-up your Metrocard, in $10 amounts as you board the bus or at the City Bus Exchange (Colombo St). However, if you use the card to pay for someone else, the full fare will be deducted for their ticket.