Innovative public transport takes out technology award

Published 21/06/2021

The value of 21st century technology in providing useful new services for the community was demonstrated on Friday night when MyWay by Metro won the Innovation and Technology category at the South Canterbury Business Excellence Awards

South Canterbury Councillor Peter Scott said that the Timaru community has embraced their novel public transport system, and that councils around New Zealand are paying close attention. 

“I’ve heard it described by some as an ‘uber bus’, and for some people it was a tricky concept to get the head around to begin with.  Now though, with more than 90% of our customers believing that MyWay makes using public transport easier, it’s clear this is a better option compared with traditional fixed route buses. Simple technology plays a crucial part in this, with 80% of customers booking and paying via the app rather than calling the contact centre,” he said. 

“The service was co-designed with the community to ensure it had real potential to make a difference. Despite requiring a substantial change in thinking, the technology makes it a very simple service to use. MyWay has enjoyed a 16% increase in patronage even during a year when COVID-19 had a nationwide impact on public transport use, as well as providing real improvements in access and well-being,” he said. 

“This trial has been closely watched by operators around New Zealand, with so much potential to roll out across communities everywhere, especially for towns and cities with fluctuating public transport demand,” said Cr Scott. 

MyWay by Metro is a partnership between Environment Canterbury, Timaru District Council, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Ritchies Transport and Via Transport. The service has been adopted into Environment Canterbury’s Long-Term Plan 2021-2031, subject to Waka Kotahi funding approval.