Public transport

Why is this important?

Public transport is a more efficient and cost-effective way than cars to transport large numbers of people around built up urban areas. Increased use of public transport provides economic, health, social and environmental benefits to Greater Christchurch as a whole.

Key points

    • In the year to June 2020, 11.02 million boardings (or one-leg trips) were made on public transport in the Greater Christchurch area. This was a decrease of 20% from the previous year (13.69 million trips).

Note this is an interactive chart and you can click on the legend items to change what is shown on the graph.


Public transport patronage in Greater Christchurch dropped from 17.21 million trips in the year to June 2010 to a low of 11.22 million trips in the June 2012 year – the impact of the September 2010 and February 2011 earthquakes forcing many businesses to close or move from the centre of Christchurch. Journey numbers had recovered to nearly 80 per cent of pre-2011 figures. However, public transport patronage declined again in 2020 due to the impact of travel restrictions as part of the COVID-19 response and the accelerated shift towards a digital economy. At Alert Level 1 people have continued to work from home and complete transactions online, and some may be cautious about public travel for personal health reasons. Monthly figures for public transport boardings in Greater Christchurch remain around 20 to 25% lower than pre-COVID-19 levels.

Data notes

Greater Christchurch includes Christchurch urban and school services, plus Ferry, Burnham, Lincoln, Rolleston, Rangiora and Airport services.

Data is collected on the bus through the onboard ticketing system.

Data information and downloads

Data source

Environment Canterbury, Public transport data

Data access

Tables available on request

Date updated


End of June each year (last updated to June 2020 although monthly data is available to April 2021)
Data download Download the tables [XLSX, 27 KB]
Page updated June 2021

Data breakdowns available

Geographic area

Greater Christchurch (see definition in Data Notes)

Other variables

Territorial Authorities by month - Christchurch City Council, Waimakariri District Council, Selwyn District Council from July 2015 onwards

Links to other information and reports