Red Zone tours to start 5 November

2:00 pm on 1 November 2011

Public bus tours of Christchurch's central-city red zone are to be introduced soon in answer to growing calls for public access to the area.

The tours will give people a close-up view of the earthquake damage for the first time since the 22 February quake.

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority says buses will take people through the city centre each weekend, beginning on Saturday 5 November and running until 11 December.

Demand is expected to be high so a booking system has been set up. Anyone wanting to go on the tour should phone 0800 RING CERA (0800 7464 2372) to book seats.

Buses will depart from Cranmer Square and there is a check-in time of 20 minutes before departure.

The authority is putting up about $200,000 of taxpayers' money for the venture. A tour will cost each passenger a gold coin.

The authority's demolitions manager, Warwick Isaacs, told Checkpoint he expects the tours will be very emotional for some people, with friends and family having been in the area at the time of the quake, and others who have lost family and friends.

He says the route for the tours may vary, depending on where potentially hazardous demolition work is being done at the time.

Mr Isaacs says participants will also be given information on the potential hazards when they book for the tours.