Media release

Bus Talk September 2021

Thursday 2 September 2021

Get the latest news about buses in Dunedin.

Public transport in COVID

Thank you, drivers and passengers

When the Prime Minister announced that we would go into lockdown, our bus operators went into action to get their drivers ready to support essential workers and essential travel.

Drivers put themselves at risk every day to provide this important service, and we would like to thank them. Without buses and drivers, many people in Dunedin would not be able to get to work or to access essential services such as the supermarket.

Thanks also to our passengers who have adapted quickly to the new alert level four regulations and been kind to drivers.

Alert Level 3

Public transport in Dunedin will continue to operate with a reduced service in Alert Level 3 for essential travel or for essential workers. This means in Dunedin all routes will continue to run a Saturday service during the week with the exception of two services, route 1 Palmerston and 80/81 Mosgiel Circuit, which are operating their normal timetables. The weekend timetable is unchanged.

Bus travel is NOT free (unless travelling with an off-peak SuperGold concession). If you usually top up with cash on the bus, please try to register your Bee Card and top up online instead to avoid cash transactions on the bus. You can also order a card online. It’s easy, and we need to keep our drivers safe. We have “How To” videos in the COVID FAQs section of ORC’s public transport webpages, at

If you do need to pay by cash, you can do so with the driver. Please enter at the back as per current regulations, and tell the driver you need to top up. Try to keep your distance and if you are topping up your card, top up with a large amount if possible, to avoid topping up again.

There may be a few more people on the bus, and this will slowly increase as we head toward Alert Level 2. We are working with our bus operators to keep on top of demand and have clear signage about where passengers can sit to ensure safe distancing.  

Some reminders for travel in Alert Level 3:

  • Back door entry, tag on/off at the rear door card reader. If you need to use the front door, please signal to the bus driver when the bus arrives that you need the bus to kneel so you can enter at the front door.
  • Scan the COVID QR codes provided. If you don’t have the official COVID tracker app, keep a manual diary of your travel.
  • You must wear your mask. Remember, some drivers are exempt from wearing a mask if it affects their ability to drive.
  • When you are waiting for the bus, keep a 2 metre distance from other waiting passengers.

Some timetable information cannot be changed during this temporary COVID response. The website timetables and E-Stops at the Hub are up to date for Dunedin. However, we are unable to change the street timetables, Google Maps and Transit. 

Finding information

All of your COVID Orbus information is on our website at and on Facebook at The news app My Little Local has a COVID button under transport and we are updating radio stations and the transit app with notifications.

All of our customer service points are closed, but people can still get in touch by calling our 24/7 phone line, ORBUSDN (0800 672 8736), or during business hours by emailing

The $2 fare extended

Otago Regional Councillors reviewed the results of the $2 flat fare in a meeting last week and have agreed to continue them for the time being.

Council resolved to work more with our partners at the Dunedin City Council and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency to establish objectives and options around bus fares and other ways of making public transport more attractive before changing anything.