Given the state of traffic and roads in the city, I always thought transport was going to be a big issue this election. However, I was surprised that when we hit the streets on Saturday, changes to bus routes were the biggest complaint. The number of routes, and frequency which buses travel on them, are proposed to change – and this hasn’t gone down too well. There is a facebook group which already has over 1500 members. In a discussion on twitter yesterday, someone jokingly suggested that we elect more pro-bus councillors to ECan, the council responsible for Metro. Part of the problem is a confusion between the city and regional councils:

In Christchurch, responsibility for the provision of public passenger transport lies with ECan, but the responsibility for providing the infrastructure to support public transport, including bus stops, shelters, and interchanges, rests with the city council, which has caused some tension.

Mayor Dalziel has suggested that one or other of the two councils take control of the portfolio:

Dalziel said during the council’s recent draft annual plan hearings that either the Christchurch City Council or Environment Canterbury (ECan) should take over the portfolio. “The separation is what creates the extra work,” Dalziel said. “Either which way you look at it, it doesn’t make good sense.”

I think it’s definitely an idea worth discussing. While we’re at it, why don’t we put responsibility for passenger rail – which is theoretical at this point – into the mix and create a single transport authority for Canterbury?

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