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  • Andrew von Dadelszen

MyWay by Metro: A new "on-demand" public transport system being trialed in Timaru

A significant milestone has been achieved as Timaru approaches its 2020 on-demand public transport trial, with the completion of contracts for both the technology provider and the vehicle operator. “Our selected partners are ideally positioned to support this trial, combining comprehensive international expertise with in-depth local knowledge,” said Timaru Operations Manager Judith Earl-Goulet. “Their wealth of experience will enable us to accurately test the potential of the concept in our local market, and the propensity of the community to engage with it, both essential characteristics that will influence its success.”

As chair of BOP Regional Council's Public Transport Committee, I will be watching this trial to see if it has potential for our Tauranga community.

Following a competitive bidding process, global mobility and technology expert Via has been appointed to provide the next generation on-demand technology, while incumbent local operator Ritchies was selected for the vehicle service operation. Using the "MyWay by Metro" app, passengers will be able to order a vehicle directly from their smartphone. Bookings will just as easily be made using the dedicated website, and by phone. Via’s advanced algorithms will enable multiple passengers to seamlessly share the vehicle. The powerful technology will direct passengers to a nearby virtual bus stop within a short walking distance for pick up and drop off, allowing for quick and efficient shared trips without lengthy detours, or inconvenient fixed routes and schedules.

MyWay by Metro puts the customer in charge. You can go to and from anywhere you choose in Timaru, whenever it suits you; there’s no set route or timetable. You say where you want to go, when you want to be picked up and from where. It’s a really simple solution and totally based around your needs.

Ritchies will initially operate five on-demand vehicles as well as retaining the contract to run the remaining Link, Temuka and school services. Richard O’Keefe said there will be a mixture of vehicle sizes. “These MyWay by Metro vehicles will be capable of meeting just about every transport need, including disability access and storage for prams and bikes. Just let us know your needs when you book,” he said. “We will also operate a call centre, so that MyWay customers have the option of calling to book as well as using the app or website. We’ll be staffing this from our Timaru depot, recognising the importance of local knowledge.”

Via - re-engineering public transport

Via powers on-demand public transport in more than 20 countries across five continents, bringing extensive experience to the Timaru trial. Via was closely involved in the feasibility study, and are incorporating key learnings and recommendations into the design of the service. The MyWay by Metro service demonstrates how public transportation and technology can work together to provide residents with a comfortable, convenient, and affordable way to move around. This is a great example of a city embracing the next generation of public transportation.

Working with the community

Responses from Environment Canterbury’s work within the community has been very positive and continues to grow. CCS Disability Action said that people are really looking forward to the freedom and control provided by a public transport service that comes when you need it. “This is an opportunity to create a more inclusive transport option for all people. Timetables have provided limited choice, resulting in people not being able to access the community. This service will give opportunities for impromptu outings that all New Zealanders should be able to enjoy.”

What will MyWay by Metro cost?

Introductory fares for the 12 month trial:

Cash Adult $3.00 Children 5-17 years $2.00

Convenience Adult $2.00 Children 5-17 years $1.30

Convenience fares are for app and Metrocard payments. Children under five travel free

SuperGold cardholders travel free during all off-peak times


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