Not enough drivers to keep Queenstown buses moving

by Kim Bowden - Jul 12, 2022

Queenstown bus timetables will be reduced to offer travellers a more dependable service as a shortage of drivers bites.

The Otago Regional Council today announced it is moving to a reduced bus timetable in Queenstown and Dunedin from next week – Tuesday, July 19 - to provide greater reliability following disruptions due to driver shortages. 

The reduced timetable will operate seven days a week in Queenstown, while in Dunedin the reduced timetable will only affect weekdays, with normal weekend services running.

Transport manager Doug Rodgers says there simply isn’t enough drivers to operate all routes daily.

“The move will mean some reductions to the service but should mean far fewer cancellations and allow for a more reliable service for passengers. 

“Bus operators have been working hard to maintain a workable service, but the new wave of Covid and winter illness has created a shortage of drivers.

“This, coupled with the national shortage of bus drivers, is impacting the ability to deliver a full service.”

The council has worked with operators to maintain provision at key times as far as is possible, and school services remain operational, he says.

The updated timetable information will be on the ORC's website, where passengers would usually find their timetable information, on the Transit App and at the e-stops at the Dunedin Hub.

The ORC website will be updated so that from tomorrow (Wednesday, July 13) passengers will be able to plan their journey in advance with the reduced timetable displaying the scheduled times for individual routes.

The ORC is urging passengers to check the website for alerts before setting out on their trip, or look for notifications on the Transit app. If there are cancellations, passengers will find that information on the website or on the Transit app.

The Orbus Dunedin and Queenstown Facebook pages will also carry any major updates about the networks. 

In Queenstown, passengers can ring 0800 672 8778 to talk to someone about impacts of the changes on their particular journey.

The council says people using the Total Mobility services – the subsidised service available to people who are unable to use public transport – should also be aware that drivers could become unavailable at short notice.

Total Mobility users are asked to contact their personal support networks to make a travel plan should their Total Mobility taxi be cancelled.

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