What does Alert Level 1 mean for Orbus?

Bus Talk column - 11 June 2020

Well done New Zealand! From Tuesday 9 June, we have moved into COVID-19 Alert Level 1, where physical distancing is no longer a requirement.

This means we can now provide normal bus seating allocation across the network, which will ease pressure on capacity in time for the many people who will be returning to work locations in Dunedin and Queenstown. 

Stickers that told you where you can and can’t sit on the bus will start to be removed this week but as of Tuesday 9 June you can sit on any seat next to anyone.

While this means we’re almost back to normal for Orbus, we still ask that you are kind and considerate to our drivers and fellow passengers, particularly when buses are full. Please do not travel by bus if you have any flu-like symptoms, cough and sneeze into your elbow, and wash your hands as often as possible.

If you haven’t caught the bus in a while, remember…

  • Social distancing is no longer required
  • Please enter at the front door
  • Buses are still free so there’s no need to interact with drivers apart from a friendly “hello” when you get on and “thank” you when departing
  • Track your travel

Tracking your travel is even more important now. Keep track of when you catch the bus – date, time and route number. You can fill in our online form at www.orc.govt.nz/OrbusDN, keep your own diary, take a photo of the bus as it arrives or text a mate each time you travel.

In Queenstown

Under COVID-19 our timetable wasn’t very different from the usual timetable so we’re sticking to this for now, including continuing to run the extension to Sunshine Bay, and the stop at Hanleys Farm.

The current school services are likely to remain operational for the time being. We will monitor the demand on these as services return to normal capacity.

In Dunedin

We are back to a normal timetable and bus capacity.

Dedicated COVID-19 school-only buses will cease to operate after Friday 12 June, as students will be able to take a regular Orbus service as of Monday 15 June. The regular pre-COVID-19 school services 5D, 6E, 6D, 40C remain operational as per usual.

Flat Fare 

The Otago Regional Council has said yes to a proposal for temporary “flat” fares in Dunedin.

We’re proposing to temporarily remove the five fare zones, tertiary student concession and GoExtra concession. We’ll replace that with one zone and three simple fares plus free travel for SuperGold card holders at any time. These are the proposed fares:

  • $2 with a Bee Card for all (other than youth)
  • $1.50 with a Bee Card for youth (5–18 year olds)
  • $3 cash fare (no Bee Card) for all passengers

Let us know what you think about the flat fares. Go to yoursay.orc.govt.nz/flatfaredunedin. Consultation closes Thursday 2 July at 5pm.

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