Public transport

Why is this important?

Bus transport is a more efficient and cost-effective way than cars to transport large numbers of people around built up urban areas. Increased use of public transport provides economic, health, social and environmental benefits to Greater Christchurch as a whole.

Key points

    • In the year to June 2017, 13.47 million boardings (or one-leg trips) were made on buses in the Greater Christchurch area. This was a slight decline of 1.6% from the previous year (13.68 million trips).


Note this is an interactive chart and you can click on the legend items to change what is shown on the graph.


Bus patronage in greater Christchurch dropped from 17.2 million trips in the year to June 2010 to a low of 11.22 million trips in the June 2012 year – the impact of the September 2010 and February 2011 earthquakes forcing many businesses to close or move from the centre of Christchurch. Journey numbers have recovered to approximately 80 per cent of pre-2011 figures. 

Numbers started to grow again from 2013 (13.31 million trips). Bus patronage declined slightly every year from 2014 to 2017 (14.08 million trips to 13.47 million trips). Environment Canterbury reviewed the bus services in 2014, introducing a changed network model to deliver cost and operational efficiencies. A new bus interchange opened in Christchurch Central City in 2015.  The Greater Christchurch Public Transport Joint Committee is currently reviewing the Regional Public Transport Plan, and consultation on the revised plan will take place in the second half of 2018.

Data notes

Greater Christchurch - includes Christchurch urban and school services, plus Ferry, Burnham, Lincoln, Rolleston, Rangiora and Airport services.

Data is collected on the bus through the onboard ticketing system.

Data information and downloads

Data Source

ECan, Public transport data

Data Access

Tables available on request

Date updated

End of June year (last updated to June 2017)

Data breakdowns available

Geographic  Area

Greater Christchurch (see definition in Data Notes)

Other variables

Territorial Authorities - Christchurch City Council, Waimakariri District Council, Selwyn District Council from July 2015 onwards

Data Download

Download the tables here [XLS, 27 KB]

Links to other information and reports

  • To find more information on transport in Greater Christchurch at the ECan website(external link).
  • To see more detailed reporting view the Metro Monitoring Dashboard(external link) – this is a regular report at the end of Agenda papers for the Greater Christchurch Public Transport Committee (find the agendas in the ECan document library).