Thank you, Dunedin bus passengers

Bus Talk column - 24 September 2020

In the last several months, there’s been a fair bit of change for the Orbus network and our passengers.

Aside from the changing COVID-19 alert levels and the restrictions that have come with them, we have also ushered in the new Bee Card for the network, all while continuing to make small tweaks to improve the network.

Thank you, passengers

You have been very patient, kind and accommodating throughout.

We’ve asked you to wear masks, to track your travel, to distance from other passengers, to get on different buses, to travel off-peak and even to not catch the bus to make space for those who needed buses to access essential services. Thank you also for being kind to each other and your driver.

On top of this, we’ve asked you to get used to a new system. Our Bee Card launch was very successful and that’s down to you being ready.

Here are some interesting stats from this period...

  • Our buses were free for five months.
  • During COVID-19 lockdown our patronage dropped, but it increased massively when buses were free. Patronage for Dunedin increased by 414% for June/July compared to April/May.
  • Otago Regional Council has issued more than 80,000 Bee Cards.
  • Of those, around 25,000 people have registered their cards in Dunedin and Queenstown.
  • We are the eighth region to join the Bee Card system in New Zealand, with Taranaki to follow.
  • The uptake of Bee Cards among SuperGold card holders in Otago has been one of the best out of all the regions, and we rank third.
  • Otago is the only region still offering free all-day travel to SuperGold Card holders until the end of the year.
  • Patronage is still strong. For September, Dunedin patronage is only down 12% on 2019 (to date), which is great considering COVID-19 restrictions and introducing the new Bee Card system.

Thank you, drivers

Drivers have worked throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and we thank them especially for transporting passengers during lockdown. As well as that, they’ve had to adapt to ongoing changes to regulations around COVID-19, and learn a new ticketing system. They have kept this essential service going and continued to drive us around safely.  

We’d like to thank them for turning up, for wearing masks throughout their shift (if you’ve worn a mask you know how uncomfortable it is), and for learning a new system.

Return to normality

For now, there is some return to normality as we are in Alert Level 1 again. We no longer have to social distance or wear a face covering. The network is at normal capacity and we are charging fares again.

Ka pai to all our community for getting through the last few months.

 

This is Bob Clouston, who was our first driver of the month last year.

This is Bob Clouston, who was our first driver of the month last year.

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