Media release

The Bee Card launches in Dunedin next week

Friday 28 August 2020

Passengers on the Orbus Dunedin network will be able to use their new Bee Cards from Tuesday, 1 September.

Orbus passengers in Dunedin will get to put their Bee Cards to use from next week, when the new ticketing system goes live on Tuesday. Fare collection will also resume on Tuesday, at the interim flat rate of $2 for adults and $1.20 for children with a Bee Card. Cash payment will still be available on buses at a flat rate of $3.

So far, approximately 57,000 cards have been activated. Bee Cards have been issued on buses, from Otago Regional Council (ORC) offices and our retail partners, and through the Bee Card website. Over 13,000 cards have been registered.

Otago Regional Councillor and Deputy Chair of the Regional Transport Committee Kate Wilson said the launch of the Bee Card marked a leap forward for public transport in the region.

“Bus travel will be much smarter and easier for passengers with a Bee Card. The Bee Card is a tag-on tag-off system, meaning no interaction is required with the driver, and registering the card allows for online top-ups and card management.

“It’s terrific for Otago to join the other regions already using the Bee Card, including Northland, Waikato, Hawkes Bay, Invercargill and others. The Bee Card will work across public transport in all participating regions once the roll-out is complete.”

“The Bee Card also comes with benefits for Orbus,” Cr Wilson said, “as it will give us a much better understanding of when and where people are travelling. That data is going to be really valuable for informing improvements to the service in future.”

Cr Wilson said she hoped the interim flat fare structure would also entice more people to take the bus in Dunedin.

“We’ve heard from many people in places like Mosgiel and Port Chalmers that the simplified fare structure will make catching the bus in and out of town much more attractive, and they’re excited about being able to leave the car at home.

“During the five months that buses have been free due to Covid-19, many passengers have discovered the convenience of Dunedin’s public transport network. Our hope is that the $2 fares, along with the ease of the Bee Card, get even more people in Dunedin to stick with the bus.”

Orbus passengers in Queenstown have to wait just a couple more weeks until the Bee Card launches in the Wakatipu Basin – on 15 September.

Cr Wilson had a few final reminders for bus users ahead of next week’s go-live.

“Fares come off the Bee Card once a person tags off. If you forget, your Bee Card will be charged $3, instead of the flat $2 adult rate (or $1.20 for 5 to 18-year-olds), so it’s important to tag off when you exit the bus.

“It’s also important to remember that top-ups can take up to twelve hours to be processed, so try to remember to top up a day in advance if your balance is running low.

“On day one, we ask passengers to be patient. First-time users will need to make sure their cards are topped up and, if order online, activated. Passengers should hold the card to the ticketing machine for a wee bit longer the first time they use it, to make sure it kicks into gear.

“Finally, as of Monday, the government is requiring all public transport passengers to wear face coverings. Please, out of respect and kindness for your driver and fellow passengers, remember to wear a face covering on the bus.”


Bee Card statistics:

As at 28 August,

57,052 Bee Cards had been activated.

13,409 Bee Cards had been registered.


As at 12 noon on 27 August,

4,553 credit transfers had been completed, out of 5,542 requests.

177 GoCard holders had elected to donate their remaining balance.

317 people per day, on average, were interacting with our customer service team.


For more information:

Dunedin Orbus passenger David King uses the new Bee Card watched on by Ritchies driver Peter Craik.

Dunedin Orbus passenger David King uses the new Bee Card watched on by Ritchies driver Peter Craik.

Dunedin passengers (from left) Janie Peck and Robyn McLean sit behind Neil Grant.

Dunedin passengers (from left) Janie Peck and Robyn McLean sit behind Neil Grant.