Resurrecting Leeston’s bus service
A youth led public transport trial coming next year could ease the sense of isolation in Leeston’s growing population.
Leeston Community Committee (LCC) chair Lloyd Clausen said the town was once connected to the city by public transport routes, from the stage coaches of more than 100 years ago to a more recent bus service. Clausen said there had been a number of investigations into resurrecting the service in the years but nothing had stuck.
‘‘We’ve had a few private companies try a service prior to the earthquakes. They didn’t last too long.’’
Clausen said the LCC had surveyed the community on public transport, finding a lot of interest from schools and the elderly.
Environment Canterbury (ECan) public transport strategy, planning & marketing manger Edward Wright said ECan had researched public transport from Leeston in 2009, but nothing came from it.
‘‘Any service would need to be financially viable. This means that a service would need to be supported by the community to achieve a 50 per cent recovery from fares. People in the area the service covered would need to pay a higher public transport targeted rate,’’ Wright said.
Selwyn Youth Council (SYC) was working on a week long trial service in the wider Selwyn area to gauge community engagement.
SYC chair Ella McClure said the Selwyn Link, a trial bus service which would alternate between connecting Ellesmere and Malvern areas with Rolleston, would run for one week next year. Selwyn District Council (SDC) community development officer Jason Flewellen said the trial would hopefully begin next April during the school holidays.
More information on timetables, stops and routes would be available closer to the time.
‘‘We’ve just got to make sure everyone in those communities knows what’s going on,’’ Flewellen said.
SDC councillor Pat McEvedy said the trial would be timed well in the school holidays, as that would be its time of highest use.
‘‘Anything that’s done to raise awareness for the need for public transport in the Selwyn is good.’’
For the future, McEvedy said the Selwyn community needed to find an innovative solution for the issue.
Leeston in rural Canterbury.