Passengers riding buses in the Horizons Region will switch to the electronic Bee Card next week.
The regional integrated ticketing system uses an electronic card to tag on and off public bus services and will replace Horizons Regional Council's GoCard in Palmerston North, Feilding, Marton, Ashhurst and Levin from Monday, July 20.
Horizons chairwoman Rachel Keedwell is pleased the Bee Card is replacing the previously outdated bus ticketing system.
"The Bee Card's tag on tag off functionality provides us with rich data such as passenger use, hot spots along the routes and fare collection, which will be highly beneficial in informing our future network planning," says Ms Keedwell.
"We've started collecting this data from Whanganui already, who have had the Bee Card since December last year.
"It will be fantastic for the rest of our region's services to have this functionality and for council to collect the same type of data to help us improve our offerings.
"The Whanganui rollout provided the opportunity to iron out a few implementation details, with feedback regarding how easy the card is to use being positive."
Horizons transport manager Rhona Hewitt says the Bee Card will support bus users in managing their bus travel more independently, with features such as online card top ups, managing multiple cards online, and transferring balances from lost or stolen cards.
"Fares on passenger transport have been free as a response to Covid-19.
"However, simplified fares will be put in place from Monday to assist bus users with the transition to the card, and before normal fares and concession types are reinstated on September 28.
"The temporary simplified fares are set at the lowest fare offered on our services.
"In most cases this is the child fare.
"This means customers who normally pay a beneficiary, senior, child or tertiary fare have until September 27 to get the concession loaded onto their new Bee Card.
"There will only be two types of fares until September – Bee Card and cash.
"SuperGold Card (during off-peak hours) and university students will still ride the bus for free.
"These users can just 'show and go' with their relevant ID cards.
"In the meantime they are welcome to get a card and register it online so they are ready to use it later in the year."
Bee Cards are available on the bus, at beecard.co.nz or via freephone 0508 800 800 and the Horizons office in Palmerston North and Whanganui.
Cards can also be topped up at all those locations and platforms.
Bus timetables and fare information are available at horizons.govt.nz.