Bus Talk - Getting around by bus these holidays

Bus Talk column - 10 December 2020

Here’s everything you need to know about getting around this summer, including if you’re travelling with friends and family who are visiting from out of town.

Bus cheaper with a Bee Card

The Bee Card is our tag on tag off bus card that gives you cheaper travel on the Orbus network in Dunedin, as well as Queenstown where Orbus also operates.

If you’re travelling to the other participating Bee Card regions, for example Nelson, you can use your card there too.  

Register online at www.BeeCard.co.nz for benefits including a child and 65+ concession and topping up online.   

Purchase a Bee Card for $5 online from www.BeeCard.co.nz, or if you can’t wait for the post, pop into one of our Otago Regional Council (ORC) offices or buy one with cash on any Orbus bus. ORC offices are at 70 Stafford Street and Level 2, 144 Rattray Street, Philip Laing House (across from The Exchange). You can also get a card and top it up at Dunedin City Council Customer Service Centres and the University Book Shop.

What are the fares?      

With a Bee Card, an adult fare is $2 per trip (see below for SuperGold Card concession information), while a child fare (5-18 years old) is $1.20 per trip (see below for under fives).

Both children and SuperGold card holders must register a card to get their travel concession. SuperGolds currently have free concessionary travel. Without a registered card they will pay an adult fare.

Without a card, all passengers pay $3 per trip.

If you need to catch two buses, make sure you tag on the next bus within 45 minutes of tagging off the last bus and your fare will be free of charge. Make sure you tag off the second bus too, to complete the journey.

To find out about fares in Queenstown, go to the ORC website. To view fares in other Bee Card regions, go to www.BeeCard.co.nz.

Are children under 5 free?

Yes! Kids love catching the bus so if you’ve got a few under 5s in your care, it’s a cheap and fun way to get around. All buses (with the exception of Mosgiel loop services and the Ridge Runner) travel via the Dunedin Bus Hub, which is in the centre of town.

Can I use my Bee Card to pay for others?

Yes. If you’re travelling with a friend or family member who doesn’t have a card, you can get them discounted travel with your Bee Card. Tag your own card on, and then talk to the driver about paying for your friend/family member with your Bee Card.

The driver will give them a paper ticket. If you have a paper ticket you don’t need to tag off. Only tag off if you have tagged on.

The only available tickets when paying for extra passengers on your Bee Card are adult and child. SuperGold card holders must register their Bee Card with their SuperGold client number to get the free concessionary travel.

Christmas services

Orbus does not operate on Christmas Day, but in Dunedin the Otago Heritage Bus Society runs the Suburban Rumbler. It’s an hourly service from St Clair to Normanby and back via the Octagon for a gold coin donation. See more details at www.orc.govt.nz/OrbusDN.

Orbus then runs a public holiday schedule (the Sunday schedule) on Boxing Day (26 December) and 1 and 2 January. Please note this schedule is applied to all observed statutory holidays.

Enjoy catching the bus this summer!

St Clair. Image credit: DunedinNZ

St Clair. Image credit: DunedinNZ

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