Keeping up, looking ahead

Thursday 22 April 2021

Mask up. There seems to be fewer people wearing masks on the bus, but it is still mandatory to wear a face covering on public transport in New Zealand. It’s even more important now as we welcome international visitors from Australia.

At the same time, please be kind about those who don’t have a mask. Some folks (including a few Orbus drivers) have exemptions, and it’s not always easy to know who that might be. This is about everyone doing their best, and taking responsibility themselves. 

QR codes are also more readily available on buses, so please keep scanning with the NZ COVID Tracer app.


Public Transport vision signed off

Last week, the Otago Regional Councillors agreed on the 10-year vision for public transport in Otago underling its new Draft Regional Public Transport Plan 2021-31 (RPTP). The vision is for an inclusive, accessible, innovative public transport that connects Otago communities and contributes positively to our community, environment, and economy.

This is a key step in the development of the new RPTP, which will go through a consultative process in May allowing the public to have their say.

The RPTP describes the public transport services that are proposed to be provided in the future to meet the needs of new and existing customers, as well as the policies under which those services will operate. It also explains how ORC will work in partnership with its community, public transport operators, and Otago’s territorial authorities.

As well as its public transport vision, Councillors confirmed challenges and objectives for inclusion in the Draft RPTP.

This step follows weeks of engagement between the ORC Public Transport team and key community groups in Dunedin and Queenstown, as well as city and district councils across Otago. Feedback from key stakeholders during these sessions had been positive.

Councillors agreed to a three-week submission period and a timeline for consultation from 3 May to 24 May. Look out for more information about the Draft RPTP and how to lodge a submission on the Plan soon.



Moving folks over Easter

The Otago Heritage Bus Society's "Suburban Rumbler" public transport service, which operated Dunedin's only timetabled buses on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, carried 134 and 141 passengers respectively over the two holidays. Covering 450km over the St Clair-Normanby route, six volunteer drivers drove a total of 22 hours.

Pictured here is a former Dunedin City Council 1976 Leyland-Emslie Leopard bus No 170 ready to depart the Octagon on Good Friday morning 02/04/2021. The photo is by Michael Jarka.


Future of Bus Talk

From next month, Bus Talk will only appear once a month instead of every fortnight. It will be a bigger column looking at the key developments and news for the month.

The ORC public transport team also emails out a monthly newsletter at the end of each month. If you would like to read the newsletter, head to and sign up to ‘On Board with Orbus’.