Otago’s public transport plan has been adopted

Bus Talk column - 01 July 2021

Last week, the Otago Regional Council signed off on the Regional Public Transport Plan, the strategic document that guides the planning and delivery of public transport services and infrastructure in Otago.

ORC received 193 submissions with 38 groups and individuals speaking at hearings in Dunedin and Queenstown in June.

The plan enables some key developments, including investigating trial bus services for South Otago, Upper Clutha, and Waikouaiti to Dunedin and allowing pets on buses (more on that below). The Council will review the $2 fare in Dunedin in August.

Free travel to the science fest

The Otago Regional Council is a proud sponsor of the New Zealand International Science Festival, running from 8-18 July during the school holidays.

If you are planning on going, consider taking the bus at only $2 one way with a Bee Card (including free transfers).

Orbus will also be offering free travel for the University Expo at the Otago Business School and the Big Science Show at the University of Otago’s Teacher’s College Auditorium on the weekend of the 10th and 11th of July.

Festival director Dan Hendra says, “We are delighted by a new initiative from one of our key sponsors for this year’s festival, the Otago Regional Council, who have made science even more accessible by providing a number of free services across the festival period. This aligns strongly with our strategy to make science accessible to everyone, everywhere.”

The terms and conditions for free travel are as follows: Passengers should show the Orbus advert from the official Science Festival programme or published here to the driver (or say they are attending the science festival) to get free return bus travel. This is to any bus stop in the tertiary precinct on Albany Street, Clyde Street, Union Street East and Harbour Terrace when travelling on routes 14, 15, 37, 38 and 63 on Saturday the 10th and Sunday the 11th July 2021.

Pets on buses

Last week, our council approved for pets to go on buses through the new Regional Public Transport Plan. We’re still working through the detail with our operators and considering feedback from passengers who have service dogs and will keep you posted about the launch date. Pets will be allowed on buses in enclosed carriers on weekday services between 9am and 3pm, after 6:30pm, and all day on weekends. This has made 5-year-old Willem and his sausage dog, Walter (pictured here), very happy.

Stafford customer services closing

All of our customer services staff will move to Philip Laing House in the next month. From 2 August, if you would like to speak to us in person about buses, rates payments and consent queries, or to top up your Bee Card, please visit us on level 2, Philip Laing House, 144 Rattray Street.
There is a bus stop close by servicing several southern services, plus several short-term parks.

Our Stafford street headquarters will be closed to customer enquiries from that date onwards.
Shelby, Jody and Mia (pictured here on Pink Shirt Day) are just three of our customer experience team who will be at Philip Laing to help you.

You may have heard that the Otago Regional Council headquarters in Dunedin is moving to the former central Dunedin Warehouse site on McGlaggan St. This will only be in two years’ time.

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