Frequently Asked Questions

COVID August 2020

   

UPDATED 21 Sept. Distancing is no longer required, neither are face coverings however they are encouraged. In Alert Levels 2 and 3, physical distancing was required prior to this update. It is still advisable where possible. When onboard, sit in window seats only where possible, unless sitting next to someone you know. 

For Level 3, physical distancing increases to 2 metres on buses, so please leave a row and aisle free between other passengers.

This will reduce capacity even further so please only catch the bus if it’s that’s the only way you can get around.

Please be considerate and kind to fellow passengers as we all adjust to these developments.  

The government has said face coverings are no longer mandatory on public transport as of 11.59pm on Monday 21 September but are encouraged. That means that all passengers and drivers in buses in Dunedin and Queenstown are encouraged to wear a face mask on the bus (putting them on before they board the bus). 

Face mask requirements under Alert Level 2

Can I wear a buff or scarf?

Please refer to the official COVID page to see what face coverings are acceptable. It states that “if you do not have a face covering, you don’t need to rush out and buy one. You can use another kind of covering, like a bandana, scarf or t-shirt. At Alert Level 2 and higher, people at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should use medical masks to help prevent infection.”

Will a driver deny me entry if I don't wear a face covering?

Drivers and other passengers may ask you to wear a mask, but it is your responsibility to follow these requirements. Please be kind and considerate to your fellow passengers and drivers while we get through this.

Do school children need to wear face coverings?

It depends on the age. Here is the official advice from the government:
Face coverings should be worn on public transport for all ages with the exception of:

  • By children under 12
  • On school buses
  • On charter or group tours
  • On interisland ferries
  • On private flights

These groups are already likely within each other’s bubbles as part of a registered group or have space to physically distance.

What if I have a physical or mental health condition that makes covering my face unsuitable?

The government has advised that face coverings do not need to be worn by:

    • People with a disability or physical or mental health condition that makes covering their face unsuitable do not have to wear face coverings also.
    • There will be other times when it is not required – such as in an emergency, if unsafe, if people need to prove their identity or to communicate with someone who is deaf, or if required by law.

Under Alert Levels 1 and 2, there is no change to frequency of services, and since September 15 there is no need to physically distance.

Due to no physical distancing requirements on public transport, the level of service changes as does the need to put duplicate buses on busy runs for school students. Here are the details.
• 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.

Under Alert Level 3, we will move to a reduced Saturday frequency for all routes Mon-Sat, with Sunday remaining as is. Palmerston services won't change. Physical distancing will be 2 metres apart so this will reduce capacity even more. 

Generally,

Where possible, please travel off-peak. This will help spread capacity and the ability to get people moving around when they need while still keeping up safe distancing measures in buses. Our peak times are around 7:30 and 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.
• 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.

For all Otago Bee Card questions, click here to access the FAQs. 

Yes please. 

Each bus has a unique QR code using the official government COVID app. 

If you don't get a chance, you can also use our tracking form here, or keep a diary of your travel - when, on which route and what time. 

The 0800 ORBUS phone numbers will continue to operate as normal (24/7) in any level.

In Dunedin call 0800 ORBUSDN (0800 672 8736)

In Queenstown call 0800 ORBUSQT (0800 672 8778)

Keep up to date with information on our Facebook pages, OrbusQT and OrbusDN. 

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