Queenstown to join hive of Bee Card users tomorrow

Queenstown will join Dunedin on the new Bee Card bus ticketing system tomorrow.

Bus fare collection will also resume, coinciding with a series of bus timetable changes.

Adult fares remain at $2, while cash fares are $3, down from $5 per adult and $4 for 5 to 18-year-olds, and the airport fare is now $4, down from $10 per adult.

Bee Cards do not have to be registered and passengers can still top up on the bus.

Registering a card allows top ups to be made online.

Otago Regional councillor and regional transport committee chairwoman Alexa Forbes said it follows the successful launch in Dunedin two weeks ago.

‘‘It’s a smart card with tag on tag off access, which makes it quicker and easier to use and minimises interaction with drivers — which is really valuable in the current climate.’’

The Bee Card would also give the regional council a clearer picture of when and where people were travelling on the bus network, which allowed for better planning in the bus network overall, she said.

Cr Forbes had some advice for Bee Card users on day one.

“It will take a few seconds longer the very first time you tag on to a bus.

‘‘That’s totally normal and expected — just wait until you hear the beep, and you’re good to go.’’

Online top-ups could also take up to twelve hours to be processed, and should be done the night before travel.

For users with registered cards, even after credit was added, the balance would say ‘‘pending balance’’ until the user tagged on for the first time.

‘‘Don’t forget to tag off,” she said.

Approximately 77,000 cards had been activated for the Otago region and of those, over 23,200 cards were registered online.

As for the timetable changes, Route 1 will extend to Sunshine Bay, there will be additional peak trips on the Route 2 Arthurs Point and Arrowtown services, Shearers Rd has been added to Route 3, and the Route 5 Lake Hayes Direct is now seven days per week.

There are also new stops at Hanley’s Farm, Akarua Wines on Arrowtown-Lake Hayes Rd, and near Millbrook at the intersection of Malaghans Rd.

Regional council transport manager Garry Maloney said the changes reflected public feedback.

“We made some changes to the network early in the year with the introduction of the Lake Hayes Queenstown direct service, and again during Covid-19 lockdown.

‘‘With the new ticketing system, we’re taking the opportunity to introduce improvements based on passenger feedback and demand,” he said.


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