'Teething problems': Buses late due to Bee Card glitch

Some buses were running late in Dunedin this morning and customers are having problems with the new Bee Card system.

There are multiple reports of people using the Dunedin public transport system having trouble tagging on and tagging off with the card.

Some buses are running 10 minutes late.

Otago Regional Council transport manager Garry Maloney confirmed there had been some "teething problems".

"This morning, Dunedin joined the new Bee Card system, and we’re happy with how things have gone considering it’s day one," Mr Maloney said.

"Understandably, there have been some teething problems with drivers as well as passengers.

Photo: ODT files
Photo: ODT files

"For example, the first time passengers tag on, it will take a few seconds longer to beep because the card is fully activating for the first time. This has caused some minor delays, but it is something we anticipated and is not an issue with the system."

Mr Maloney said people may also be topping up online or loading a concession right before a trip. This did not give the system enough time to process the request.

"It can take up to 12 hours for top-ups to carry over."

One driver did not log into the new system, causing a one-off problem this morning.

Mr Maloney said Otago had an excellent uptake of Bee Cards.

This was no mean feat after New Zealand went into Alert Level 2 because of the coronavirus, meaning the council was unable to hold events to hand out cards, he said.

"We want to thank our passengers for their enthusiasm for the Bee Card and for being ready this morning.

"Overall, most people had their cards and have been remembering to tag off, which is great." 

The system replaced the GoCard in the city from today.

It starts in Queenstown on September 15.

The council offered tips on its website for day one of using the card:

  •     The first tag will take a few seconds longer than usual – just swipe your card across the scanner near the door and wait for the beep. That is how you know it has worked
  •     Bee Cards activate when they are swiped, so if you’ve topped up online but it says "pending balance", don’t worry, it’ll pull through the funds when you tag on
  •     Online top-ups can take up to 12 hours, so don’t top up five minutes before your journey
  •     Concession changes may take 30 minutes to pull through, so don’t register your child’s concession right before the journey or they will end up being charged the adult fare
  •     Do not forget to tag off.

When a Bee Card user swipes their card as they enter - tagging on -  the system recognises where they are travelling from.

When they tag off, it closes the loop and charges a passenger for their travel. Forget to tag off and you get charged a default fare, which is the $3 flat cash fare.

Tagging off also ensures you won't be charged if you have changed buses within the free transfer window of 45 minutes from the last tag off.

Tagging on and off also gives the council rich data about where people travel, helping it improve the network to reflect people's travel habits. 


Local trusted journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Star Media journalists and photographers continue to report local stories that matter everyday - yours.

For more than 152 years our journalists have provided Cantabrians with local news that can be trusted. It’s more important now than ever to keep Cantabrians connected.

As our advertising has fallen during the pandemic, support from you our reader is crucial.

You can help us continue to provide local news you can trust simply by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter