Ser­vice brings buses back to Kaiko¯ura

Kaikoura Star - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - GE­OFF VAUSE

When In­ter­city cut back their bus ser­vice to Kaiko¯ura a few months back, tourism agen­cies in the quake-shaken town got busy to find a re­place­ment.

Road re­pairs fol­low­ing the Novem­ber earth­quake meant State High­way 1 was only open Fri­day, Satur­day, Sun­day and Mon­day.

‘‘In­ter­city buses pulled the plug on a seven-day ser­vice when it was de­cided the high­way would be open only those days,’’ Kaiko¯ura’s i-Site su­per­vi­sor Marie¨t van Vierzen said.

‘‘That meant on Tues­day, Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day there was no pub­lic trans­port in and out of the town,’’ she said.

Van Vierzen said they had asked sev­eral dif­fer­ent trans­port providers to help, and Christchurch’s Red Travel stepped up with its Red Bus ser­vice. They use the in­land road on those days which takes about 20 min­utes longer.

‘‘They are of­fer­ing a dif­fer­ent ser­vice. They leave later from Christchurch and de­part later from Kaiko¯ura which al­lows vis­i­tors to do an ac­tiv­ity in the af­ter­noon like Dol­phin En­coun­ters or Kaiko¯ura Kayak.

‘‘With In­ter­city on the days they are here, peo­ple don’t have time for an af­ter­noon ac­tiv­ity,’’ van Vierzen said.

Red Bus chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul McNoe saw the gap and took it with the new Kaiko¯ura Ex­press ser­vice.

‘‘We’ve been through earth­quakes. We know how im­por­tant re­li­able trans­port is and we want to help how­ever we can,’’ McNoe said.

‘‘This is also a nat­u­ral fit to our busi­ness model as we look to ac­com­mo­date more in­de­pen­dent trav­ellers,’’ he said.

‘‘The Kaiko¯ura Ex­press com­ple­ments our Akaroa Shut­tle ser­vice. We’re pas­sion­ate about the re­gion, the lo­cals and en­cour­ag­ing vis­i­tors back to Kaiko¯ura.’’

An op­tional scenic photo stop with seals, quick points of in­ter­est on route and the abil­ity to be col­lected from ac­com­mo­da­tion zones along with the air­port will also be part of the .

Des­ti­na­tion Kaiko¯ura’s Julie How­den said the town was grate­ful to Red Travel for the ser­vice.

‘‘This will fill a huge gap in our pub­lic trans­port con­nec­tion with Christchurch,’’ How­den said.

The ser­vice will de­part daily from Rolle­ston Av­enue, Christchurch at 8.30am and Kaik­oura i-Site at 4.30pm with drop-off and pick-ups at En­counter Kaiko¯ura.

The first Kaiko¯ura Ex­press ser­vice will ar­rive at Kaiko¯ura i-Site at 11am on Oc­to­ber 2 and will be greeted by lo­cal dig­ni­taries and busi­nesses.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

The Kaiko¯ura Ex­press and Red Bus driver Peter Watts. Red Travel at Christchurch has come to the pub­lic trans­port res­cue for the quake-shaken town.

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