Christchurch transport to go cashless next year

Default Profile ImageBen O'Connell
Credit to Ecan image

Ōtautahi Christchurch’s buses and ferries are set to go cashless from the second half of 2024.

Environment Canterbury recently approved the move as part of the National Ticketing Solution (NTS) on the Greater Christchurch Metro Network.

On-bus safety incidents have increased and led to Metro operators advocating for Environment Canterbury to remove cash from buses and ferries, in the name of safety.

It will also serve as a test for nationwide cashless public transport initiatives.

Environment Canterbury manager of customer experience and marketing public transport Thomas McNaughton says that over the last 18 months, staff have worked closely with operators and other partners to improve network safety for all; both staff and customers.


Changing payment methods

He says that currently around 12 percent of passenger trips are paid by cash. The majority of the reasons that customers pay by cash will be addressed by new payment options the NTS will provide.

Cash will still be able to be used to top-up pre-paid cards at service centres, and card purchases and top-ups will be available through an extended network of retailer outlets.

“Comprehensive customer support and education on the alternative options for payment will be provided in the lead-up to the transition to the NTS,” Thomas McNaughton says.


Next steps

There is no immediate change for customers, and they can still use cash until the National Ticketing Solution is implemented.

As this is a decision made at the regional level, other regions must consider their plans separately. But all eyes will be on Otautahi Christchurch as to how successful the move to cashless payments will be.

“We’re confident that with comprehensive customer support as part of the implementation of the NTS, a successful transition from cash can be achieved.”