Media release

Media release: More trips being made by bus

Wednesday 22 February 2023

Bus use in both Dunedin and Queenstown has increased during the past six months compared with the same time last year – up respectively 14% and 45%.

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

Trips in Dunedin are up 14% despite the introduction of the reduced timetable to both centres in July 2022. In Queenstown the increase to the number of trips in the same period is “significantly higher” at 45%, she says.

“Bus patronage for the 2022/23 financial year in Dunedin (July to December) is now sitting at 3 % higher than the same period pre-Covid,” says Ms Cheyne.

The number of Bee Card users is also growing in parallel, with nearly 89,000 registered Bee Cards across both centres. This number has grown by approximately 6% in the past six months.

“We’d like to welcome new passengers onboard and extend a warm thank you to our regulars for bearing with us as we settle into the new timetable in Dunedin,” says Ms Cheyne.

The level of missed trips is a nationwide issue exacerbated by the current national driver shortage. This is especially an issue in Queenstown.

The number of missed trips decreased in Dunedin during the six months 1 July – 31 December 2022, with an average of 77 missed trips per day in July which dropped to 6 missed trips per day in December 2022. The total number of missed trips for Dunedin during this period was 3.2% of trips operated.

For Queenstown the number of missed trips has increased since July 2022, when an average of 40 missed trips per day was recorded. This increased to 62 trips per day in December 2022. The total number of missed trips was 9.95% of trips operated.

Although more people are getting the bus in Queenstown there has been an 18% drop in the number of trips compared with the same period pre-Covid.

Queenstown commuters are also hopping on the ferry with patronage increasing by 88% in the past six months.

The number of Total Mobility users has also increased by 18.8% in the same period. Total Mobility is a national scheme that provides subsidised travel to help eligible people stay connected with their community. The service is provided in Dunedin, Queenstown, Oamaru, Wanaka and was recently reintroduced into Balclutha.

Dunedin returned to a full timetable on 1st February while Queenstown will stay on a reduced timetable until end May 2023.

“There are still some cancellations as we settle into the new timetable, so we’d like to remind people to check for alerts on the ORC website or using the Transit app before they set out on their trip,” says Ms Cheyne. A free phone number 0800 672 8736 is also available.