Flashback Friday: Bike and bus to the airport

Another busy week and that included a day trip up to Wellington last Tuesday. With an early flight there, I fell back on my tried and trusted airport connection of bike+bus there and back home at night. It’s a simple and inexpensive option to avoid trying to connect buses across town, as I first alluded to when I posted about back in Dec 2016. And with MetroCard fares currently only $2, it’s an even greater deal now…

In the past week I had to travel to Wellington twice, necessitating early starts to catch the 7.05am “red eye”. The car would have cost $25/day for parking. I didn’t fancy paying $60 a pop for taxi rides to the airport (I suppose Uber would have been cheaper if someone was around then). Nor was I enamoured about the idea of biking 15km to get there. And the buses don’t start past my house until 6.40am. However I was able to combine biking with bus to catch the 6am #29 Airport bus.

The first step was a ride from home to the central bus interchange; about a 20 minute ride. One great thing about riding that early in the morning is the lack of traffic around, even on the main roads; it’s actually a lot more pleasant than riding around during the daytime.

Great bike parking options at the bus interchange

At the bus interchange I could park my bike in the free indoor parking area. The bike racks there have lots of handy fixing points, and even power-points for charging your e-bike. Although you should of course lock your bike, it’s nice to know that security cameras are keeping an eye on things too.

If you needed to store some biking stuff, one option is to use the lockers on site. They cost just $2 for up to 24 hrs storage (not that this would have been useful for my first trip as that was overnight).

Handy lockers, but maybe 48 hrs would be more helpful?

Finally it’s onto the #29 bus for the ride to the airport; about 25-30 minutes. This is where it’s really handy to have your MetroCard; a cash fare to the airport is $8.50 but with the MetroCard it’s only the standard $2.65.

End result: a trip from one side of Christchurch across to the airport in under an hour for less than $3! Much better than the alternatives…

Lining up for the airport bus

These trips highlight the potential for combining bike and bus more around Christchurch. Sometimes they might be two separate trips, with the bike parked in the middle, and sometimes you might want to take the bike with you to use at the other end (as I did with my recent trip over to Burnside). Either way, given the current concern about falling bus patronage, perhaps the local authorities should be looking to promote better the virtues of using the two modes together. Many people are complaining that the new bus routes don’t go where they want to go, but a bike might be able to solve that “first/last mile” problem.

Have you ever combined biking and busing to get somewhere?

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