A new electronic bus card system will arrive in Horowhenua early next year, as part of a roll-out across the whole Horizons region.

The Bee Card will replace the existing Horizons GoCard and will be free for a limited time, the regional council said.

The region is one of nine across the country switching to the new system.

Designed to make bus travel easier, the council says the card will also allow it to collect information.

Advertisement

Horizons Chair Rachel Keedwell said the tag-on-tag-off nature of the card meant "rich data" could be collected, which includes information on passenger use, hot spots along routes and fare collection, which would help with future network planning.

The card also has features to help users, once they register it online, she said.

These include the ability to load concessions for seniors, beneficiaries, students and children onto the card, ensuring these passengers are charged the correct boarding price without the need to show identification.

Registering the card online also enables checking its balance, managing multiple cards for families and setting up an automatic top up.

Horizons transport manager Phil Hindrup said many regions were facing out-of-date and increasingly obsolete technology with their bus ticketing systems, while others hadn't previously had cards available.

"A consortium of regional councils has been formed to make the project more cost effective and ensure robust technology, and shared marketing resources," he said.

"By all joining together we were able to pool costs and benefits, to get the best deal for our ratepayers".

It is reported though that the system has come in around $3 million over budget due to additional testing being required.

Advertisement

The roll-out of the new system will begin in Whanganui early next month, reaching Levin by early 2020.

Existing GoCard users are encouraged to run down their balances before the Bee Card launch in their area.