Safer Mid Canterbury and the Ashburton District Council have launched an online survey to gather information from the public about the future need for public transport in Ashburton.
The Council says survey responses will be analysed alongside the thoughts of community groups, businesses and existing transport operators, to help it gauge if a public transport pilot is feasible.
Infrastructure and Open Spaces Group Manager, Neil McCann said the process was simply information gathering at this stage.
“Environment Canterbury runs public transport in the region and is reviewing its regional public transport plan later this year. Information we gather from the survey and research, will be valuable and help us prepare a submission on the review,” he said.
The research project is being undertaken by Sarah Wylie, of Social Research and Evaluation, and should be completed by early April.
Mr McCann said the project was aimed at finding out the likely level of demand for public service in Ashburton, as the town had not traditionally had such a service.
“We want to know how often people would use public transport, what sort of schedule they want and if they would be willing to pay.”
Safer Mid Canterbury already operates the Mid Canterbury Connector service, a vehicle which travels to more rural areas of the district to bring people to Ashburton for medical appointments, shopping and to access government and social services.
Christchurch operates buses as public transport and Timaru has MyWay, an on-demand public transport system; public transport could also include escooters and ebikes.
Mr McCann said feedback from community groups will be gathered separately from the online survey, as well as the views of taxi and bus companies.
“We’re hoping to get a lot of feedback from the online survey and we will be promoting it widely because we want the views of young people, older people, people who don’t have a licence or no longer drive, or people who have mobility problems,” he said.
“This is a great chance to see if we should trial something like a MyWay or if we need any sort of public transport at all.”
The survey is available here until 8 March. Hard copies are also available from Council, Ashburton Library, Ashburton Community House and Age Concern.