You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
A $3 charge to SuperGold card holders who forget to tag off the bus is not intended as a penalty, Otago Regional Council transport manager Garry Maloney says.
Rather, it encourages people to tag their Bee Card both on and off, which provides the council with data that helps regional councils and the Government to improve public transport services.
SuperGold card holders travel free during non-peak hours when using their Bee Card to tag both on and off the Orbus network in Dunedin and Queenstown.
However, even during the free travel times, a $3 fare is automatically charged, the same as a cash fare, when they tag on the bus.
If they forget to tag off, that full charge is kept, rather than refunding it to their Bee Card.
The system, introduced in September, applies to all passengers using Bee Card, meaning those who usually pay the $2 flat fare with a Bee Card will be charged an extra $1 if they forget to tag off.
Mr Maloney said this was because the Government mandated, some time ago, that wherever there were electronic ticketing systems like the Bee Card, SuperGold card holders must use that card (not their SuperGold card) on public transport to get the free travel.
"That means you must use a Bee Card, load your SuperGold details on it and tag on and off to get free travel in Dunedin and Queenstown, or any other network with a tag on tag off Bee Card ticketing system."
Mr Maloney said the charge was not intended as a penalty; instead, it helped encourage people to tag off ,which gave the council a much more useful picture of public transport usage.
"These ticketing systems are important in providing data about how people travel around, and helps regional councils and government improve and plan for public transport.
"We recognise that this is a big change for some people, but it is a change that will benefit all bus users in the end by helping us to deliver a public transport network that best reflects passenger movement," he said.