Media release

ORC urges students and families to prepare for changes to school buses from term one

Tuesday 25 January 2022

Many students will need to change the buses they catch and use Orbus public transport when school resumes, following Otago Road Services ceasing its bus services at the end of last year.

The Otago Regional Council (ORC) is urging families and students to be prepared for travel on the public transport network to school as Otago Road Services – a commercial Dunedin bus company – has ceased operation, mainly affecting Mosgiel/Taieri, Brighton and Green Island students travelling from outside school zones to other city schools.

The affected schools include Otago Boys High School, Kings High School, St Hilda’s Collegiate, Kaikorai Valley College, Taieri College, and Balmacewen Intermediate. A full list of the Otago Road Services routes that have ceased is below.

These services, which fall outside the ORC’s public transport network, and Public Transport Plan, were not replaced. Other school bus services contracted by the Ministry of Education, however, will continue in 2022.

“Being prepared for the change in the bus services, students will need to check with their school as to whether they are affected, learn their route, study the Orbus schedule, and have a Bee Card loaded with a youth concession. Some students may have a longer journey into school, and it may require transferring buses,” said ORC Implementation Lead Julian Phillips.

“They will also need to know the COVID-19 safety protocols on public buses,”

Under the Government’s orange and red settings, the COVID-19 guidelines require the use of face coverings and scanning on to the bus using the NZ COVID Tracer app. Extra seat spacing is not currently a requirement of the ‘Red’ setting.

“There are a few things parents and students can do now to make life easier when school starts up. Most important is to have a Bee Card, which will enable students to tag on and off the bus easily, and at reduced fares as long they have registered their card with a youth concession,” Mr Phillips said.

“We also encourage students to familiarise themselves with their bus route and download the Transit app for real-time tracking of their bus.”

For more information, visit our School Buses page. For school-specific information ORC recommends getting in touch with your student’s school.

To learn more about the Bee Card, including where to get it and how to register it, click here

Otago Road Services operated the following commercial school services which have now ended. (Note that these commercial services were in addition to school services contracted by the Ministry of Education, which have been retendered and will be run in 2022 by a different bus operator.)

  • South Coast Route to Otago Boys High School
  • South Coast Route to Kings High School
  • Allanton/Mosgiel Route to St Hilda’s Collegiate
  • Mosgiel to Kings High School
  • Mosgiel Route to Otago Boys High School
  • Abbotsford to Kaikorai Valley College
  • Concord to Taieri College
  • Mosgiel to Balmacewen Intermediate
  • Balmacewen to Kaikorai Valley College