Sweeping changes to the Christchurch public transport system will be introduced next month, with buses on major routes set to run every 10 minutes at peak times.

Billed as the "biggest restructuring of the metro network since the 1990s", the shakeup aims to streamline the system, improve efficiency and reflect changing community needs following the Canterbury earthquakes.

The new design is also intended to entice commuters to use the buses by being more user-friendly.

Environment Canterbury plans to roll out the first of the new services on December 3.


ECan refused to discuss the specifics of the new plan yesterday. Details would be unveiled on Monday, a spokeswoman said.

But a bus industry insider told The Star future bus users "won't need a timetable" with buses running on major routes every 15 minutes generally and every 10 minutes at peak times.

"They're trying to get more people on the buses," he said.

"They're recognising that people don't exit in the centre of the city any more."

The changes affect the three major public transport providers in the greater Christchurch area - Red Bus, Leopard Coachlines and GoBus.

Amalgamated Workers' Union assistant South Island secretary Lindsay Chappell said ECan was catering for a ``changed demographic'' in Christchurch.

"Obviously there's no central city to go to anymore. They are going to service suburban hubs and they've redesigned the network with a focus on business parks and shopping centres where people want to go," he said.

Mr Chappell said he understood one of the new routes to be introduced involved a direct run from Rangiora to The Princess Margaret Hospital.

No layoffs would result from the changes, but Mr Chappell noted there had been some attrition in the industry since ECan reduced the number of services by cutting poorly patronised routes in June, resulting in a loss of revenue for each of the bus companies "in excess of $1 million".

Mr Chappell said ECan was "trying to get the best value for their buck".