Queenstown ferries buzzing to use Bee Cards
Passengers will be able to use their Bee Cards to pay for ferry trips in Queenstown from tomorrow.
The Otago Regional Council said locals, tourists and visitors were on the lookout for new public transport options due to traffic congestion and parking pressures.
Its interim transport manager Doug Rodgers said the combination of water ferry and busing would improve accessibility to and from the town centre.
Using a Bee Card will cost $5 for a single ferry trip, but the cost rises to $7 if passengers use a bank card.
"We encourage people to purchase and register a Bee Card to take advantage of the reduced cost of travel across all available public transport services in Queenstown," he said.
The ferry service is already half price and is expected to remain at that level until early 2023.
The council launched its Bee Card in September 2020 and has been partly subsidising the lake ferry since mid-2021.
Operator Queenstown Ferries is owned and operated by tourism company, RealNZ,
RealNZ Queenstown Experiences general manager Dan Maroszek said it was existing to be the first water-based public transport operator to adopt the Bee Card system in Aotearoa.
"Water-based public transport is the most sensible and immediate solution to the roading and parking issues we are now seeing in central Queenstown.
"We are committed to providing solutions to community problems with the support of ORC, and the seamless connection between roading and water-based public transport systems
will support this.
A launch event will be held between 8.30am and 1.30pm on Wednesday at Steamer Wharf to encourage people to buy and register a Bee Card with prizes and free cupcakes.
Commuters and tourists can use the ferry to travel to Queenstown Bay, the Frankton Marina and the Bayview and Hilton jetties.
They are within a 15km round trip, which takes about an hour return.
The ferry service has been added to the Queenstown Orbus network as Route 6 and the timetable information can be found on the council's website or on the Transit App.
The council, Queenstown Lakes District Council and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency have been under the Way to Go partnership since early 2020 to address public transport issues.