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Metro review will scrap university bus service

University of Canterbury students will lose their campus bus service under proposed changes to the Metrostar route.

Environment Canterbury (ECan) is consulting on its Metro Bus Services Review, which includes a proposal to replace the Metrostar with a new line.

The Metrostar starts in New Brighton and heads to Halswell, stopping on the way at the university’s Ilam campus. ECan proposes to alter the route, starting instead at The Palms shopping centre in Shirley and finishing at at Westfield Riccarton.

Student Holly Faulkner, who lives in Halswell, said would have to consider getting her restricted licence and begin driving to university if the Metrostar was scrapped.

Otago University student Sarah Christie, who uses the bus when in Christchurch to visit archives for her research, said the route change would extend her journey, but she could see some positives in ECan’s plans, especially for the connections between suburbs. She planned to make a submission on the route review.

ECan public transport manager David Stenhouse said the regional council took into account changes created by the red-zoning of land in the eastern suburbs when planning the proposed changes and looked carefully at where people lived and worked.

He said only a small group of people would be affected by the changes. University students who travelled from New Brighton or Halswell would have to catch two busses instead of one.

In March, 2013 the Metrostar had 67,130 passengers across the route, and 30,685 of them travelled between The Palms and Westfield Riccarton.

Stenhouse said this was why ECan wanted to retain part of the Metrostar in the review.

Public submissions on the review close on Monday, June 16.

Maps of the proposed changes can be found on the Metro Bus website.

_Kyle Knowles