Media release

New Queenstown bus service identity unveiled

Thursday 26 October 2017

The name of Queenstown’s new $2 bus service has officially been announced today, ahead of its launch on 20 November.

The brand-new bus service – called Orbus – is an initiative led by the Otago Regional Council with support from the Queenstown Lakes District Council and New Zealand Transport Agency. It will soon be the easiest, most convenient and most affordable way to get around Queenstown with flat-rate fares for just $2.
“Launching the new service with a distinctive name and identity from the get-go is part of the Regional Council’s commitment to providing a professional bus service for Queenstown area residents and visitors” says ORC chairman Stephen Woodhead. “The launch of Orbus later this month will be a key milestone in the wider transport plan for Queenstown. The delivery timeframe has been tight for our team, but they’re working hard to ensure it’ll be the best service that it can be from day one. We will be responsive to growing demand in the months and years to come, and we know that public transport in Queenstown will look very different in five years.”
Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Jim Boult says: “It is fantastic to see this long-awaited public transport system coming together. Ensuring the new bus service has a strong presence is important for its ongoing success, and the Orbus brand will soon become a common sight around Queenstown. This is going to be a game-changer for transport around the Wakatipu.”
“Orbus” is a conjunction of the Otago Region initials “OR” and “bus”, as well as merging the words“orbit” and “bus”. The brand identity, developed by award-winning Dunedin designer Luke Johnston of BrandAid, is an easily-recognised bright Otago yellow in a simple and distinctive “O”-based shape. The shape references existing public transit visual language, using simple clean elements of circles and lines to communicate stops and routes.
The branding will feature on the exterior of Orbus buses – operated by Ritchies – from 20 November, as well as printed timetables and online. It’s expected that some of the fleet will be branded in time for the Queenstown service launch, with the remainder of the fleet to be branded shortly after.
“We encourage everyone to get on board this exciting new service,” says Jim Harland, Director Regional Relationships at the Transport Agency. “What better place to enjoy spectacular scenery without any parking hassles than the new Orbus service in Queenstown.
“The partnership between ORC, QLDC and the Transport Agency is focused on marking a better, more liveable Queenstown for locals and visitors and this new bus service is integral to that liveability with practical and reliable transport choices for everyone.”
Orbus offers extended hours and more frequent services on four main routes; Fernhill to Remarkables Park, Arrowtown to Arthurs Point (via Frankton), Kelvin Heights to Frankton Flats and Lake Hayes Estate to Jacks Point. Riders can enjoy free wifi on every bus and plan their journey via the Transport Agency’s real-time Choice app.
Dedicated Orbus phone and email helplines have been established for people who want further information: 0800 ORBUSQT (0800 6728778) or Route and timetable information can be viewed at, with a detailed map of routes headed to mailboxes in Queenstown in early November. A new Orbus Queenstown facebook page is also live from today.
Orbus is part of a wider coordinated plan between ORC, QLDC, the Transport Agency and Queenstown Airport Corporation to address transportation troubles in the greater Queenstown area. It is a modern, reliable and efficient solution designed to meet the needs of both locals and tourists, and all fares are subsidised by ORC, QLDC and NZTA.
As well as being an affordable alternative to driving, Orbus aims to reduce traffic congestion on Queenstown’s road network and reduce the impact that private transport has on the environment.
ORC’s Dunedin bus service will also be branded as Orbus in 2018, coinciding with Dunedin’s new bus hub launch and a new tag-on, tag-off ticketing system. “For our Dunedin service, this is part of an overall shift towards improved communications with the community about their bus services,” Stephen Woodhead says.  
For further information contact:
Stephen Woodhead
Otago Regional Council
Ph 027 2801635
Communications contact:
Eleanor Ross
Senior strategic communications and engagement advisor
Otago Regional Council
Ph 027 558 9914