Christchurch's bus network is about to receive its biggest ever shake-up, with changes being made to three-quarters of services across the earthquake-hit city.
The changes will take effect in three weeks and result in 9 percent fewer buses on the roads at peak times but more frequent buses on key routes. That includes five services across and around the city which will run every 10 to 15 minutes between 7am and 7pm.
The regional council is responsible for buses. Public transport manager David Stenhouse said a more frequent service meant people would no longer had to worry about missing the bus.
"Well, I think it just becomes instinctive. It helps us change that culture of car use so people can just walk out to a bus stop and jump on a bus."
Mr Stenhouse said 15 feeder services running every 30 to 60 minutes would connect people with the more frequent buses and they were designed to be within 500 metres of most people's homes.
Smaller buses may be needed on these routes, he said.
"They will have less patronage, so we think smaller buses in some cases will be appropriate. We've had a mini-van out there at Dallington. We'd probably look at something slightly bigger than that."
The regional council acknowledged that an important piece of the puzzle essential in making the new high frequency system work was the introduction of priority lanes for buses.
Without them there was a danger that buses would get held up by congested roads and the endless roadworks that dominate the city's streets.
A senior lecturer in transportation at Canterbury University, Glen Koorey, said the Christchurch City Council, which was responsible for bus lanes, needed to do more.
"We've only very slowly introduced our priority corridors on two or three routes so far. If you want people to see it as a reasonable alternative, they've got to find something that gives them consistent travel times going through. At the moment, that's clearly not the case."
The new bus services would be introduced on 8 December. The regional council promised an extensive publicity campaign in the lead-up to the changes.