Orbus and COVID-19

New Zealand is in a COVID pandemic. Alert levels and requirements change from time to time. Please take personal responsibility and follow government guidelines about what is mandatory when catching the bus.

We have moved to the COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic lights) on Friday 3 December, 2021. 


- You DO NOT need to show a vaccine pass to use public transport including total mobility.
- There are no physical distancing requirements on public transport, at bus stops or train stations.
You must still:
- Wear a face covering on public transport and at arrival and departure points, for example the Bus Hubs in Dunedin and Frankton and bus stops.
- Scan the QR code using the NZ COVID Tracer App or keep a record of which service you travelled with and when. This will help with contract tracing for any cases in your community.
And, customers won’t be required to show a vaccine pass at our ORC customer experience points when coming in to top up their Bee Cards (please note, other retailers may have their own policies).


Read official COVID-19 information here.


Past COVID-19 updates.

27 August
Following the PM's announcement today, we remain in Alert Level 4 until 11:59 on Tuesday night.
We don't anticipate much will change as we move to Alert Level 3. The service in Dunedin will remain reduced and for essential travel.
Keep up to date with us on Facebook. We are also publishing notifications on Transit, the free-to-download real time app.
Stay safe and remember scan in, wear your mask and #bekind.
24 August 2021
In Queenstown, since lockdown started, we have operated our normal services initially to ensure visitors could return to the airport by bus.
Now that we know Alert Level 4 will continue for at least a few more days, and the service is carrying a small group of essential workers, we will temporarily reduce Orbus Queenstown services from tomorrow onwards.
Click below for the detailed timetable, but in summary:
🚍 Everything will run hourly – so current 15 or 30 minutes frequencies will be every hour.
⏱Every last run is at 10pm
⛳Jacks Point has a small gap in the middle with no services
Friday 20 August 
Public transport in Dunedin will continue to operate with a reduced service at least until Tuesday night 24 August.
This means in Dunedin all routes will run a Saturday service during the week with the exception of two services, route 1 and 80/81 operating a weekday service, and then follow the normal Saturday and Sunday schedule on those days. The timetables online are up to date for you to plan your essential travel.
Bus travel is NOT free (unless you have an off-peak SuperGold concession). If you usually top up with cash on the bus, please start topping up your Bee Card online. It’s easy, and we need to keep our drivers safe. The link below is to our FAQs where you will find 'how-to' videos helping you to register your Bee Card.
Just a reminder:
🚍 Back door entry, tag on/off at the back door reader.
🔳 Scan the COVID QR codes provided
😷 You must wear your mask. Remember, some drivers are exempt from wearing a mask if it affects their ability to drive.
All of our customer service points are closed, but people can still get in touch by calling our 24/7 ORBUSDN (0800 672 8736), or during business hours emailing customerservices@orc.govt.nz, or contacting us through Facebook.
Thursday 19 August
A big THANK YOU to our passengers and drivers who have adapted quickly to the new COVID level four regulations.
We continue to run our reduced service and ask that you keep wearing those face coverings. Please also wear these at bus stops while you wait for the bus.
Keep scanning your COVID QR codes and remember, bus travel right now is only for essential workers or to get to essential services.

Wednesday 18 August

🚍 Buses are only for essential travel. In Dunedin, it is a reduced service.
🐝 They are NOT free. Use your Bee Card to pay. Please avoid cash and top up online.
🚍 Entry is through the REAR doors. Tag on and off as usual at the rear door reader.
We cannot supply masks. It is your responsibility to wear a face covering, and it is important that you do.
❌Please do not sit near the driver or anyone else.
🔳 Scan the COVID QR codes.
Finally, please be kind to our drivers and each other.

17 August 2021 - ALERT LEVEL 4

New Zealand is moving into COVID Alert Level 4 lockdown at 11:59pm on 17 August 2021.
We know from the last time that public transport is only for essential travel. Please DO NOT take the bus tomorrow unless you are considered an essential worker or need to access essential services. Wear a mask, do not sit near anyone. We will confirm ticketing, but for now, please take your Bee Card.
More government COVID 19 information here.
Update 27 February 2021
**Alert Level update**
At 6am on Sunday 28 February, Auckland will move to Alert Level 3. The rest of New Zealand will move to Alert Level 2.
In Alert Level 2,
Face coverings are still mandatory. Take note of the exemptions here.
You should try to keep a 2m distance from one another at bus stops, avoid sitting or standing next to someone you do not know, where possible, and importantly track your travel.
Update 17 February 2021
**COVID UPDATE masks are necessary **
Otago is moving back to Alert Level 1 from midnight tonight. At Alert Level 1, there is still a risk of COVID-19 returning to the community. At this time, we understand from the government that face coverings WILL STILL BE required nationwide on public transport at Alert Level 1. 
Thanks to everyone who has worn face masks.


Update 14 February, 2021

To our passengers: You may have heard that New Zealand alert levels have changed. Here in Otago, we are at Alert Level 2.
The government requires you to wear a face covering and keep some distance between each other.
We will update information again tomorrow, and ask that on this Sunday night you are able to plan ahead:
* Find your mask or get one tomorrow.
* Stay at home if you feel unwell.
* Get the COVID app, get scanning.
* Do not sit next to anyone else if you can avoid it. And sit near the window please. 
* Please be kind to our drivers who, like us, will only have heard the news today.
* Most of all, be kind to each other.

Click below on Orbus Alert Levels or the FAQs for the latest guidance. 


Update 25 January, 2021

Have you been scanning the QR Codes on buses? It’s important to track your travel. If you’re unable to open the Ministry of Health COVID app up anyway and enter a man entry that will be saved to your travel diary. You can also keep your own diary, for example by taking a photo of the bus as it arrives. Registered Bee Card holders can also find travel data via their transaction history (go to manage card), though in an emergency the COVID app data is better for quicker tracing.

Here’s a wee video from the Ministry of Health about how the app works.


Update Tuesday 21 September 3pm:

With the return to Alert Level 1 at 11.59pm tonight, face coverings will no longer be mandatory on public transport, but are still encouraged. A big thanks to all our passengers who have covered up during Alert Level 2 to keep themselves and others safe.


Update Tuesday 15 September 3pm:

The government has changed physical distancing requirements on public transport. This will change the level of service and the need to put duplicate buses on busy runs for school students. Here are the details.

• Passengers on buses can sit on any seat but are still encouraged to physically distance where possible.
• You should still wear a face covering (for ages 12 and up unless you have a disability that makes it unsuitable).
• The last day that we operate backup/duplicate buses due to level 2 distancing is Friday, 18 September 2020.
• From Monday 21 September, school children who used to catch the regular, all-passenger service, will do so again.
• You may still see distancing stickers on buses - this a guideline.
• Make sure your Bee Card is ready to go and topped up.
And above all, be kind to each other, and to your driver.

Update Tuesday 25 August 3pm:

The government has said face coverings are mandatory on public transport as of Monday 31 August. That means that all passengers and drivers in buses in Dunedin and Queenstown will need to wear a face mask on the bus (putting them on before they board the bus).
Please, for the sake of your fellow passengers, your driver and yourself, and for keeping the service running smoothly, wear a mask and remember to be kind to each other while we get through this.


Update Wednesday 19 August 2020, 1pm:

You’ll start to see a lot of information on buses, including posters about social distancing and tracking your travel.
Please sit by the window on your own unless you are with a travel buddy.
This will reduce capacity, which may not guarantee your place on your usual service. Like last time we were at Alert Level 2, please be patient, travel off peak if you can, or use other means of getting around.
Other posters may include a specific tracer QR code poster for that bus, as well as Bee Card posters.

Update Monday 17 August 2020, 10:30 am:

What does COVID-19 mean for the Bee Card rollout? It is really important you can top up online because of the uncertainty around COVID-19 and the need to be contactless, so ‘bee’ ready, get your card registered and make sure you can top up online before we start charging fares again on 1 September in Dunedin and 15 September in Queenstown.

Head to www.beecard.co.nz or call our friendly team on 0800 474 082.


Update Friday 14 August 2020, 6pm:

Following the government’s announcement that we are staying at Alert Level 2, here’s a reminder about what it means for catching the bus. Physical distancing is required, so unless you are travelling with a buddy please keep the seat next to you free. We will keep you informed of any updates and are busy planning so we’re prepared if things change. We hope you have a good weekend and remember to stay home if you’re sick, be kind to each other and stay safe.


Update: Thursday 13 August 2020, 3pm

Good news! We’ve been able organise some additional buses for school students starting from this afternoon and also for tomorrow (Friday). Please click here to see a list of services and schools. We have contacted all schools earlier this afternoon to let them know about the extra services.


Update: Wednesday 12 August 2020, 2pm

We have moved to COVID Alert Level 2 as of midday. 

At this stage buses are running as normal, however capacity will be reduced due to physical distancing requirements. 
Many of you are catching buses as they are free. Please choose an alternative mode if you have one so those who rely on the bus to get to/from work can travel if capacity is reduced as this evolves. And please be kind to our drivers and each other as we all make adjustments.
You will have other questions - check out the FAQs below which we are updating regularly. If you are a Facebook user, the easiest way to stay up-to-date is by following Orbus Dunedin or Orbus QT.
This is a good reminder to practice good hygiene. Stay home if you are feeling unwell, wash your hands thoroughly and often and wear a face mask if you have one.

Update: Wednesday 12 August 2020, 6am

At this stage buses are running as normal.
However, prepare for when we move into Alert Level 2 at noon when we may require that you keep a 1 metre physical distance on the bus and pick an alternate seat.
Many of you are catching buses as they are free. Please choose an alternative mode if you have one so those who rely on the bus to get to/from work can travel if capacity is reduced as this evolves. And please be kind to our drivers and each other as we all make adjustments.
You will have other questions and we will get answers to you as soon as we have them. If you are a Facebook user, the easiest way to stay up-to-date is by following Orbus Dunedin or Orbus QT on facebook.
This is a good reminder to practice good hygiene. Stay home if you are feeling unwell, wash your hands thoroughly and often and wear a face mask if you have one.


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