Ōtautahi Christchurch’s upcoming cruise season starts on Tuesday 7 November, with a revised transport model now confirmed to help make the season a positive experience for both passengers and local residents.
A key issue from last cruise season was transport for cruise ship passengers, with large numbers of passengers opting to catch the Number 8 bus into the city from the Lyttelton township. This was interrupting the way Lyttelton community members would go about their day to day lives.
In planning for a smoother season ahead, relevant agencies have worked through multiple transport models that will help alleviate this local disruption.
A previous proposed model of the transport plan announced two weeks ago explored transferring all passengers directly from the cruise berth to central Christchurch. After hearing feedback from Lyttelton businesses and tourism operators who provide independent tours, as well as a review of the operational logistics of this proposed plan, a revised model has been created based on a managed access approach to allow limited numbers of passengers to access Lyttelton.
It is a requirement that all people on vessels berthed in New Zealand ports are given access to leave the port, where they cannot safely walk off, such as at Lyttelton Port. Cruise passengers will be offered an affordable shuttle service that directly transports them to the central city, with a small number of passengers and all ship crew able to access Lyttelton township.
General Manager of Destination and Attraction Loren Aberhart says, “This balanced approach means that both Lyttelton and central Christchurch can gain a share of the positive economic benefit from cruise ships visiting, while also reducing the pressure on both the public transport system and the Lyttelton community. The plan will be closely monitored and assessed throughout the season and refined as required.”
ChristchurchNZ General Manager of Destination and Attraction - Loren Aberhart
We want to acknowledge the work and effort that has gone into the creation of this transport plan over the past couple of months and thank the cruiselines, ground handlers, tourism operators, Christchurch City Council, Environment Canterbury and Lyttelton Port Company for their collective efforts in supporting a plan which allows for a positive resident and visitor experience from cruise."
“We want to acknowledge the work and effort that has gone into the creation of this transport plan over the past couple of months and thank the cruiselines, ground handlers, tourism operators, Christchurch City Council, Environment Canterbury and Lyttelton Port Company for their collective efforts in supporting a plan which allows for a positive resident and visitor experience from cruise.
“We would also like to thank the Lyttelton community for their feedback during this process and their patience as different models have been worked through in order to find a sustainable balance. We understand that the issue of cruise visitation is polarising and that we will never be able to please everyone with any cruise passenger transport model, but we’ll continue to strive to ensure that cruise has social licence to operate in the community.”
Key points of the transport plan:
- There will be a shuttle service that transports cruise passengers directly into the central city from the cruise berth, at an affordable cost that is comparable to public transport fares meaning price sensitive cruise passengers catch the shuttle and not public transport. It also offers a guarantee that passenger’s vessels will not sail without them as long as they are at the shuttle stop prior to the advertised last shuttle time, unlike public transport which offers no guarantee in the event of delays.
- The transport plan is scalable based on the size of the cruise ship in port, which will provide a consistent operation benefiting local residents, cruise ship passengers and tourism operators.
- Passengers who have pre-booked independent tours departing from Lyttelton can take a free shuttle to Norwich Quay to meet their tours or private transfers.
- Passengers who wish to travel to the Christchurch gondola can take a pre-booked shore excursion directly from the cruise berth to the gondola return, reducing any additional possible pressure on the Number 8 route.
- The public transport bus network has a more frequent and increased capacity service with the recent changes from Route 28 to Route 8. There is an additional school bus service being provided by Environment Canterbury for the duration of the season. This is to support school students who use the Orbiter service. This will connect the No. 8 buses to Lyttelton after school. The new service will start from Cashmere High School and stop at Opawa Road to replicate the Orbiter / No.8 connection, before following the No. 8 route to Lyttelton. These additional services are a backup measure to ensure the public transport system is well resourced for the season.
ChristchurchNZ and key city agencies will monitor this transport plan across the season and refine as required, in what aims to be a more balanced approach and positive experience for residents, passengers and local operators.