Media release

Bus trip numbers continue to rise

Thursday 10 August 2023

Bus use in Dunedin and Queenstown has maintained its upward trajectory with more than four million individual bus trips taken across both centres during the past financial year.

Patronage data reported to the Otago Regional Council’s Public and Active Transport Committee shows an 18% increase in trip numbers for Dunedin (total 2,797,300 passengers) and 55% for Queenstown (total 1,252,982 passengers).

The increases are for the 2022/23 financial year compared with same period in 2021/2022.

“We’re pleased to report that the number of trips made by bus is increasing across Otago,” says ORC’s Manager Transport Lorraine Cheyne.

Patronage numbers are up despite the reduced timetable which ran for six months in Dunedin and for nearly a year in Queenstown. The driver shortage began to ease this year and Dunedin returned to a full timetable on 1 February while Queenstown returned to a full timetable in June.

When compared to pre-Covid data from 2018/19, bus patronage in Dunedin shows a 10 % increase. The situation differs for Queenstown which instead shows a 15 % decrease over pre-Covid patronage numbers - border restrictions, which were only removed last financial year, were likely a factor.

“We will continue to monitor changes in bus patronage following the fare subsidies that came into effect on July 1 when the national half price fares scheme ended.”

“Passengers are urged to check out the Community Connect information on the ORC website to see if they are eligible for discounted fares,” says Ms Cheyne.