PRESS RELEASE: Otago Regional Council
Otago Regional Council has today announced that the bus operator contracted to deliver Queenstown’s ground-breaking new $2 bus service is Ritchies.
The Regional Council’s bus service will be a publicly subsidised transport option, designed to play an important part in reducing traffic congestion in the resort. The service will receive funding support from Queenstown Lakes District Council and the NZ Transport Agency.
Andrew Ritchie, Operations Director for Ritchies, says Ritchies are very pleased to be working with Otago Regional Council on “bringing public transport improvements to the Wakatipu Basin” with the new service, which has a target launch date of 20 November. Comprehensively servicing Queenstown and surrounds, the buses will be wifi-enabled, with bike racks mounted to the front of the buses.
“We’re pleased to have Ritchies on board to help deliver this new, modern, affordable, flexible, reliable and responsive service for Queenstown locals and visitors” Regional Council Chair Stephen Woodhead says.
The Regional Council, QLDC, NZ Transport Agency and the Queenstown Airport have been working in partnership on a coordinated approach to resolving transport issues in the area. “ Our partnership is focused on one main goal – addressing transport issues to enable a better, more liveable Queenstown town centre. We have major problems to solve that are impacting on liveability and doing business. Our collective approach to this includes an efficient bus service and a fair rate for parking. We want people to be able to move in and out of town with ease.”
The new service will mean changes to existing routes. Summary timetable details are below, with detailed timetables and maps expected to be available in a few weeks’ time.
“The programme has been fast-tracked to meet community demand – so we are working hard to make sure it’s going to be a success,” says Councillor Woodhead.
Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult sees this as another step forward in the push to bring much improved public transport to Queenstown. “Queenstown’s new public transport system is going to be a game-changer for both residents and visitors. We’re confident that the ORC have chosen wisely with Ritchies and we look forward to working with them to ensure the new bus service ticks all the boxes needed to make it a success when it launches on 20 November. The ongoing teamwork between the ORC, QLDC and NZ Transport Agency is clearly delivering tangible benefits for the people of Queenstown and is fantastic to see.”
Jim Harland, Director Regional Relationships at the NZ Transport Agency says “The switch to a modern, subsidised bus system is another way the groups working together in Queenstown are creating easier ways for everyone to get around safely and conveniently.”
The flat $2 fare will be offered across all zones to passengers using a GoCard, and includes a free transfer within 30 minutes. The fare is subsidised by QLDC, NZTA and ORC.
People using public transport will be able to track in real time the movements of Queenstown’s new bus service, alongside other transport options, with the launch of NZTA’s integrated travel app, Choice Queenstown.