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ORC Extends $2 Bus Fares In Dunedin Until Mid-2021

The flat fares, introduced with the launch of the Bee Card in September, will continue until at least the end of June next year.

The Otago Regional Council (ORC) decided today to retain the current flat bus fares in Dunedin for at least the remainder of the current financial year. The flat fares ($2 for adults and $1.50 for youths with a Bee Card or $3 in cash) were introduced on an interim basis at the start of September, replacing a 5-zone fare system.

Chair of the Regional Transport Committee, Cr Alexa Forbes, said the decision would provide certainty for bus users.

“Our previous decision on bus fares applied up until the end of December, so this means Dunedin bus users can be confident that the $2 fares are not going to end in a few weeks, and any further changes will be subject to consultation through our upcoming Long-term Plan and Regional Public Transport Plan review.”

Cr Forbes said taking the bus in Dunedin and Queenstown had never been more attractive.

“ORC have taken huge steps this year to make it easier to catch the bus in Otago, including the launch of the Bee Card and the introduction of flat fares in Dunedin. It’s really important that bus users take advantage of these fares to demonstrate that they’re sustainable in the long term.

“If you’re not already a bus user, why not give the Orbus service a shot? Leave the car at home and discover the advantages of public transport,” said Cr Forbes.

The Council also agreed to return to the fare structure in Queenstown from before Covid-19 lockdown, which means increasing the cash rate for adults from $4 to $5 and reinstating the $10 airport fare ($8 for youths). All other routes will remain at $2 for adults and $1.50 for youths with a Bee Card. The changes will take effect in early-2021.

Patronage in the Queenstown bus network has been heavily affected by Covid-19, operating on average around 40% below 2019 levels.

Finally, Council decided to return to the pre-Covid-19 fares for SuperGold Card concessions, meaning free SuperGold Card travel will only apply on weekdays between 9:00am and 3:00pm and after 6:30pm, and on weekends. All travel with a SuperGold Card concession has been free since September, to enable the smooth rollout of the Bee Card.

Once the changes take effect next year, travel with a SuperGold concession on a Bee Card will cost $2 outside of the free hours, in line with the national initiative regulated and reimbursed by central government.

In a separate paper, Council endorsed the proposed scope, engagement approach and timeline for the upcoming review of the Regional Public Transport Plan. The plan will be reviewed over the coming months, including a public consultation component early next year, to inform the Long-term Plan 2021-31.

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