Transportation in Christchurch is quickly explained. Since the city was hit by many horrible earthquakes, there’s just some basic public transportation left. In this guide, we’ll explain you what you need to know about transportation in Christchurch.
Train services in and around Christchurch are very limted. There is no commuter rail at all since the 1970’s and long distance rail on the South Island of New Zealand was sized down enormously. There are only two routes left, which are mainly operated for touristic purposes. The Coastal Pacific goes to Picton, while the TranzAlpine connects Christchurch with Greymouth.
Trams have a long tradition in Christchurch. First trams were operated in the early 1900’s, but were put out of service in the mid 1950’s again. Since then, trams don’t play a crucial role in the transportation network in Christchuch anymore. Yet, in 1995, the so-called City Loop Tram was introduced.
This tramway is mainly touristic and connects historic attractions of Christchurch in a oneway circuit. While the tram is fun, it’s not really a means of transport to get around the city.
With the lack of any proper train services, public transportation in Christchurch is mainly organized by buses. Since 2014, there is a proper system dividing the services into three categories. The by far most important bus lines are the so-called ‘Metro Buses’. That’s five lines connecting the most important points that run through the most important streets of Christchurch. In addition, there are the City Connector Buses, which run between the City Center and the most important suburbs and satellite towns (two-digit numbers). Last but not least, there are Suburban Links, which connect the suburbs and satellite towns with each other (three-digit numbers). The system as such is straightforward and easy to understand. All lines also share the same fare system.
If you are not so much into public transportation, you may also use taxis in Christchurch. There are three different companies operating taxi services, which all share the same fare system. All taxis in Christchurch are safe and in a good condition, making taxi rides quite comfortable. At the same, taxis in Christchurch are relatively expensive. The base fare as well as the kilometer fare is 3 NZD (~ 1.90 Euro / 2.20 US-Dollar). For a ride from the airport to the city center or the other way round, you should calculate approximately 50 NZD (~ 32 Euro / US-Dollar).
Due to the heavy damages caused by the earthquakes of the last years, there are not too many other means of transportation. Yet, tourists may enjoy the Classic Double-Decker Bus tour, which stops at the most important places in Christchurch. There is also a ferry service between Lyttelton and Diamond Harbour, but that’s about it.