The Bee Card has landed in New Zealand!

This is the new tag on tag off bus card. It’s making its way across the North Island and will be coming to Otago in a few months. We have heaps of time to “Bee Ready”.

The Bee Card is scheduled to replace the GoCard in Dunedin and Queenstown, starting the transition toward the end of winter 2020.

As well as an easy tag on tag off system, it will also offer benefits such as setting up an online profile for topping up and the ability to manage multiple cards.

Don’t worry, we’ll be working closely with you to make sure you understand how the Bee Card works, to transition from the GoCard to a BeeCard, and to answer any questions you have.

Catching the bus will soon be much easier and simpler thanks to the Bee Card.

 

Benefits of Bee Card

  • A simple tag-on and tag-off system
  • Manage your own travel including:
    • Online balance checking
    • Topping up online
    • Setting up automatic top-ups
  • Manage more than one Bee Card with a linked account, for example topping up your children’s card.
  • Valid across nine regions in New Zealand (excluding specific concessions and multi-trip products)


The Bee Card is a new bus travel card that’s coming to the Orbus network in Otago. 

It will be your cheapest way to travel on buses in Dunedin and Queenstown. You can tag on and off the bus quickly and easily. 

Like the current bus card, it will provide you with lower fares than if you paid by cash. The Bee Card system also enables you to register your card, create a profile and manage your fares online, including automatic top ups. That means you can check your balance, top-up, track your usage and link to other accounts (e.g. for other people in your family) 

It will also reduce interactions with the driver, which is ideal under the current COVID-19 climate where we all need to keep physical distancing.  

There are nine regions around New Zealand that are adopting the new card, and you’ll be able to use the Bee Card across all nine participating regions when they are all live.

The Bee Card will replace the GoCard. It is scheduled to go live in Dunedin at the end of winter 2020, with Queenstown following in spring. 

The Bee Card will be rolled out through the nine participating regions across NZ. It is already live in Northland and Whanganui.  

If you used a GoCard, you should get a Bee Card to get cheaper fares than paying by cash. Most users will need to register the Bee Card to get the benefits. 

As well as cheap fares, you’ll be able to:

  • Top up online 
  • Set up automatic top-ups
  • Check your balance
  • Link accounts to manage multiple cards, for example topping up your children’s card. 

We do not yet know how concessions will be managed.

It is likely that primary, secondary and tertiary school students will need to load their concession on their Bee Card profile.

At this stage, SuperGold holders will have initially have to register their Bee Card, but a council proposal dates for 27 May is asking that until December 2020 SuperGold holders travel free so we can work with them to get them registered online.

 

So long as you have a Bee Card with enough credit, you will enjoy the cheaper fares. However, if you don’t register and create an online profile you cannot top up online and will always have to top up at retailers or on the bus.  

The great thing about the Bee Card is that it’s contactless – you simply swipe/tag your card against the scanner, reducing the interaction with drivers. Read more about this below.  

We encourage everyone to register their card and top up online. Interactions between drivers and passengers should be minimal due to physical distancing measures during the COVID-19 Alert Levels.

Where retailers may require contactless (payWave or Eftpos) payment, buses are not loaded with this technology.

We are looking into a solution where no change is needed when a passenger pays by cash, for example they may drop the exact fare amount into a box but get no change.

If fares change, as has been proposed to council on May 27 so that a one-zone cash fare is $2, it will make it easier to pay with the exact change.  

The minimum top up will be $5.  

 

 

Buses under COVID-19 are currently fare free to reduce interactions with drivers and meet physical distancing requirements. Once we move out of the alert levels, we will need to charge fares again. However, it is our intention to transition directly to the Bee Card when this happens.  

 

 

These dates are not yet confirmed. The Bee Card will be available to order closer to switching over. We will advertise via radio, newspaper, Facebook, your local community group, libraries and many other channels to let you know when. During the promotional period, Bee Cards will be free.

 

On 27 May, Otago Regional Council (ORC) councillors decide in principle if the Orbus network should move to an interim simplified fare structure that will reduce the cost of travel for many people in Dunedin.  

The proposed temporary flat fare will see adults and children in Dunedin pay only $2 and $1.50 respectively per trip when travelling with a bus card, or $3 without a card no matter where they are travelling from/to. In Queenstown, which already has the same flat fares, the $10 airport cash fare will be reduced to $4. SuperGold card holders will travel free across the entire network (they currently only travel free between 9am and 3pm weekdays).  

Currently, the lowest fares on the Dunedin network includes a single zone at $1.72 for a student concession, $1.92 for an adult and $1.15 for a child concession, all with a bus card. However, most passengers travel across multiple zones so, for example, someone currently travelling from Mosgiel or Port Chalmers to town with a bus card was paying $4.44 one way across three zones, prior to fare-free COVID-19 travel 

Pending council sign off and community consultation, this temporary fare structure would be rolled out across the Orbus network alongside the introduction of the Bee Card,  which is the new tag on tag off bus card that allows passengers to swipe or tag their card as they enter/exit the bus and top up their card online. 

It is due to run until December 2020 and reviewed thereafter.  

The minimum top up will be $5.  

Read more here www.orc.govt.nz/public-transport/about-flat-fares

At this stage, there is no change to bus concessions in Otago, however there are some proposals for change going to council on 27 May. 

Under the proposed temporary flat fare structure, there will only be one concession fare, namely a school child or youth concession, which will be $1.50 with a bus card. SuperGold holders will travel free under the temporary structure and students will simply use the adult $2 fare.

By loading their concessions on to their card, school children don’t need to show the driver their ID. This means quick tag on and tag off for everyone. 

You cannot get a Bee Card for Otago just yet. But look out later this year, as we make them readily available before the switch over.

 

As we move closer to the go live for the Bee Card, there will be a period of time when Bee Cards are free to order online, possibly through retailers depending on physical distancing measures 

You'll be able to load credit on to your card online, at retailers and at this stage by cash on the bus. 

We are working through the options of how you can transfer credit, or even possibly donate left-over funds to a charity. We will be able to provide you with more details closer to when we release the Bee Card. 

At this stage, there is no change to bus concessions in Otago, and to get concession fares, holders will need to register their Bee Card online and load the concession. However there are some proposals for change going to council on 27 May. 

If council and the community approve a interim proposed flat fare structure period, SuperGold card holders will travel free across the entire network (they currently only travel free between 9am and 3pm weekdays). This would be until December 2020. 

This means they won’t need a Bee Card when that system goes live 

When we do require SuperGold concessions to be loaded on to Bee Cards, we will work with card holders and community groups that represent them to support SuperGold Card holders to get an online profile registered.  Other councils have done this already prior to COVID and this has gone well. 

We are working through the options of how you can transfer credit, or even possibly donate left-over funds to a charity. We will be able to provide you with more details closer to when we release the Bee Card.

When a Bee Card user changes buses as part of their commute, they will get a free transfer, so it would still be $2 to get from point A to B so long as they change buses within around 30 minutes.

The way it works is that the tag on tag off system recognises you have changed buses and swiped your Bee Card within around 30 minutes and won’t charge you again as you tag off. Tagging off is really important whenever you travel because it is at that point that the system closes the loop and charges a passenger. Forget to tag off and you get charged $5.

The free transfer and easy connections at the hub ensure you pay a simple, cheap fair for your entire one-way commute. Transfers are free all day so long as they are taken in the 30-minute window. They apply across the network.

When a Bee Card user swipes their card as they enter - tagging on -  the system recognises where they are travelling from.

Tagging off is really important because it is at that point that the system closes the loop and charges a passenger for their travel. Forget to tag off and you get charged $5.

Tagging off also ensures you won't be charged if you have changed buses within the free transfer window of 30 minutes from the last tag off. 

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