Media release

Otago leads the way for bus use in regional centres

Thursday 9 November 2023

Bus patronage in Dunedin and Queenstown has jumped again.

Between July and September this year more than 850,000 people took the bus in Dunedin. This was a 31% increase in passenger numbers as measured against the same period pre-Covid.

It was a similar story in Queenstown where passenger numbers rose by 32% in the same period (454,316 people).

In early September, the introduction of additional services for the Mosgiel routes generated an increase in numbers travelling into the city from the south.


Regional comparison


"Both Dunedin and Queenstown have well-performing public transport networks and combined, these are carrying more passengers than all other similar-sized regions. This is despite regions such as Waikato and Bay of Plenty having significantly higher total populations and larger urban centres," says ORC’s Manager Transport Lorraine Cheyne.

The data was reported to the Otago Regional Council’s Public and Active Transport Committee this week.


Additional Mosgiel services


Initial patronage data shows that additional trips on the Mosgiel-to-City services introduced in early September generated a 20-30% increase in bus patronage on some days.

The improvements, part of the Shaping Future Dunedin Strategy, include three morning express services - Mosgiel to City, and six afternoon express services – City to Mosgiel as well as seven additional all-stop services across morning and afternoon peaks.

In the morning, the 7.15am Express is the most popular new service, while the 3.30pm and 4.30pm services returning to Mosgiel are most popular.

“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,” says Ms Cheyne.

Mosgiel bus passengers are being invited to complete a quick survey about their experience travelling on routes 77, 78 from Monday, 13 November.

The survey is open from 7am Monday, 13 November and closes 5pm Monday, 27 November.

To complete the online survey, please visit 


Paper copies of the survey will be available from Monday 13 November at: 

  • Otago Regional Council, Philip Laing House, Level 2, 144 Rattray St.
  • Livingwell Disability Resource Centre, 10 George Street. 
  • Mosgiel Library, 7 Hartstonge Ave.
  • Greater Green Island Community 198 Main South Road.