National bus network InterCity will resume limited services from Friday and Whanganui is on the schedule.


Traveller Carol Webb will be on a bus to Wellington but two weeks ago she was one of 3500 New Zealanders to have her InterCity booking cancelled via text message.

"I heeded the Prime Minister's advice to support domestic tourism and travel between regions so it was very disappointing to then have my trip cancelled like that," she said.

Webb was able to rebook and change her Wellington accommodation booking but couldn't be sure there'd be buses running for Queen's Birthday Weekend, after an InterCity announcement last week that it would wait till Covid-19 alert level 1 before resuming operations.

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InterCity general manager Daniel Rode said bookings were cancelled because physical distancing measures required under level 2 restrictions meant that services would be running at a loss with only 50 per cent of seats able to be sold.

The company had decided to resume services and absorb the losses in the short term although not all stops on the network would be available.

"Whanganui will be available but we're unable to resume services to National Park and Ohakune at this stage," Rode said.

He said InterCity had decided to resume its service because before lockdown, the company carried 1.5 million passengers around the country each year and 85 per cent of those were domestic travellers.

InterCity chief executive John Thorburn said he hoped the Government would subsidise the service because the company would be unable to continue operating loss-making services over the long term.

"We've taken the decision to restart, even though it will be at a loss, while we continue to discuss support from Government," he said.

Webb also hopes the Government will provide assistance for bus travel as it is the only option for some travellers.

"It's wonderful to welcome Air Chathams back to its Whanganui-Auckland service but we don't have options if we want to go somewhere other than Auckland.

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"I know of a nana who is desperate to see her grandkids and a young chap who needs to travel provincially for a job interview. Without cars or buses they, and many like them, are stuck," she said.

"And that also applies to people from other parts of New Zealand wanting to visit Whanganui."

InterCity has asked the regions to help support its bid for Government assistance, Rode said.

"We have written to your mayor Hamish McDouall and to every mayor in the country to ask for their backing in keeping people moving around the country and supporting tourism and business in their regions."

Whanganui's InterCity bus stop was moved from the semi-industrial Ridgway St site to its new home at 29 Taupō Quay, outside the tram shed, on March 16.

"I don't think many people got to use it before the level 4 lockdown," Webb said.

"I'm looking forward to giving it a test run."