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When does the new bus service start?

The new service will start running on Monday, November 20 at 6am.

Are all Queenstown local buses $2?

Yes – but only if you use a GoCard. Long distance and special buses such as ski field or bungy jump buses are not part of the network. Without the GoCard, cash fares will be $4 for a child and $5 for an adult. If travelling to Queenstown Airport, the cash fare will be $8 for a child and $10 for an adult.

Where do the buses go? Where are the bus stops?

You’ll get a timetable leaflet in your mailbox before the launch of the new service on November 20. Make sure you check out the links on the Facebook page for the new service. Route details will also be made available on the ORC and QLDC websites.

Buses run regularly from 6am, seven days a week, and there are four return routes:

  • Sunshine Bay (peak hours only)/Fernhill to Remarkables Park runs every 15 minutes right through until midnight
  • Arrowtown to Arthurs Point (via Frankton) runs half-hourly on peak and hourly off-peak, through until 10pm
  • Kelvin Heights to Frankton Flats runs hourly through until 10pm
  • Lake Hayes Estate to Jacks Point runs half-hourly on peak and hourly off-peak, through until 10pm

The new service will mean changes from the former Connectabus routes.

The provision of routes into the future will be dependent on patronage and any future changes will be driven by demand.

Can I go anywhere for $2?

Yes – anywhere on the new Queenstown bus network, including the airport, Arrowtown, Arthur’s Point, Jacks Point and Kelvin Heights, so long as you have your GoCard. There is a free 30-minute transfer included in the $2 fare.

How do I plan my route and know when a bus will arrive?

The new routes and timetables will be published online at www.orc.govt.nz/orbusQT, but the best way to plan your route and track bus movements in real time is the NZTA Choice App or the Google Maps-powered Journey Planner tool on the ORC website (this will also be available for Queenstown by November 20). The free Choice App is available for both Android and iOS devices from their respective app stores.

How do I get a GoCard?

Between November 20-26, you’ll be able to receive a free GoCard by simply riding the bus. From November 27, you can purchase a GoCard for $5 from Queenstown Airport (at the Milford Sound Scenic Flights desk next to the baggage claim area), O’Connells Mall kiosk (outside Goldfields Jewellers), or on every bus that’s part of our $2 bus network.

Do I have to pay for a GoCard?

Yes – but the cost is only $5. The actual cost of the card is over $10 so this purchase price is significantly subsidised. Once you have your GoCard you’ll be able access the $2 fare.

How do I use the GoCard?

Just scan your card when you get on the bus. There’s no need to tag off until a new smart card system is introduced in the first half of 2018.

What happens if I lose my GoCard?

A new card will need to be purchased, but still at the subsidised price of $5. Any balance on the lost card cannot be recovered, so please keep your GoCard safe.

Do I have to tag off at the end of each bus trip?

No – but a new card scheme in March 2018 will introduce this requirement. Full details will be published before the change.

What if I need to change buses as part of one journey – do I have to pay another $2 fare?

No – but you only have 30 minutes to get from one bus to the next, without paying a further $2.

How can I top up my GoCard?

Either on the bus or anywhere that issues the GoCard. The new system next year will allow online top-ups of the new card. You can only use cash to buy or top up GoCards on the bus.

What if the new bus network does not service my area?

The new network is much larger than that covered by the older, more expensive bus service. It will reach all suburbs in Queenstown but not outlying satellite settlements such as Gibbston, Glenorchy and Kingston. Queenstown Lakes District Council is responsible for putting in new bus stops before November 20. 

How do I get in touch with feedback?

Make sure you follow the Facebook page (from late October) for the new service. You can also email transport@orc.govt.nz or give us a call on 0800 ORBUSQT (0800 6728778).

Where will bus service updates, network status, and operations news be posted?

These updates will appear on the Facebook page for the new service and the ORC website www.orc.govt.nz/orbusQT

What about Park and Ride and Carpooling?

Many of the outlying areas of the bus network offer free parking near bus stops, such as Arrowtown. QLDC encourages carpooling and offers discounted parking for multi-occupant cars. See http://www.qldc.govt.nz/services/transport/carpooling/. There is currently no formal park-and-ride scheme, but this option is currently being explored by QLDC.  

Have parking charges been increased?

Yes – parking charges in central Queenstown will double from December 5, 2017. Daily or weekly rates will be cut from March 31, 2018. Areas previously used for free parking will also now be restricted.

Has the School Bus Service been stopped?

Discussions are ongoing between the Ministry of Education and the new bus network. No changes will be made to existing school bus routes till the start of the 2018 school year. The Ministry of Education has confirmed (as of October 16, 2017) that there will still be school services servicing Arthur’s Point, Arrowtown, Lake Hayes Estate, Quail Rise, Shotover Country and Glenorchy. The services that ORC will provide will be to and from Fernhill/Sunshine Bay, Kelvin Heights and Jacks Point. None of these services require a transfer at the Frankton hub – meaning school students get taken directly to and from school on one bus. There will be discounted travel rates for school-aged children travelling on Queenstown’s $2 bus. Please keep an eye on the new bus service Facebook page and the ORC website for updates.

Is there Wi-Fi on the buses? Is it free?

Yes, there is free Wi-Fi on all of the buses.

What about my bike – can I take that on the bus?

Each of the new buses has a bike rack on the front of the bus. Please check with the driver before putting your bike on a bus rack. Each bus can carry two bikes.

Can the buses take wheelchair passengers?

Yes – wheelchairs can be accommodated across the new bus network. The entire fleet will be low-floor, wheelchair-accessible buses. The low-floor buses also enable prams and strollers to board and alight the buses more easily. All bus stops will be brought up to standard to support this: kerbs will be raised and footpaths will be raised to the correct height to maximise the accessibility of the low-floor buses.

Do the buses get priority against cars?

Yes, wherever possible the road markings, lane planning and traffic light phasing will favour the buses. A new bus gate system near the BP roundabout will give buses priority over cars turning into and out of Frankton Road. Bus lanes in other locations are a possible future development, where space allows.

Do the buses run early and late? Do they fit work and entertainment needs?

Yes – the operating hours and frequency of the new bus network have been extended to allow people not only to get to work, but also enjoy a late night in town without the worry of getting home legally and safely. Some bus routes operate till shortly after midnight, while others run till 10pm. (Link).

Will the new bus network reduce road congestion?

That’s the big idea! The more people use the buses instead of their cars, the more the traffic will improve.

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