Alert Level Three passenger transport changes for the Horizons Region

Horizons Regional Council’s bus service levels will be increased from Tuesday 28 April, and the Capital Connection will resume from Wednesday 29 April, with appropriate measures in place to ensure COVID-19 compliance is maintained when the country moves to Alert Level 3.

Horizons transport manager Rhona Hewitt says under Alert Level 3 the use of passenger transport is permitted for activities such as accessing goods and essential services, commuting to school or work, travelling to local low-risk recreation areas.

“While fewer people should be travelling on public transport, clear instructions around the number of passengers allowed on the bus, physical distancing and seating arrangements are being put up inside the buses to help guide customers on what to do,” says Mrs Hewitt.

“The possibility of capacity constraints mean that you should allow plenty of time to reach your destination. Please try and avoid peak times unless you are a worker or are travelling to an educational facility.

“If the bus or train has reached its allowed capacity, it will not be able to pick up additional passengers. We will do our best to limit the impact of this, however we ask that caregivers wait with children at bus stops.

“All passengers are also responsible for following the two metre physical distancing rules at bus stops and stations. We really appreciate everyone’s patience and kindness as we work within the limitations in place to keep everyone safe.”

Mrs Hewitt urges passengers to fill out contract tracing forms when using the bus.

“It is really important that each time a passenger uses the bus, their trip details and contact information are recorded. This is so we can provide this information to the Ministry of Health if it is required.”

Passengers are asked to call Horizons on 0508 800 800, or fill in the contact tracing form here.

“These bus service measures will remain in place while New Zealand is at COVID-19 Alert Levels 3, or up until 30 June 2020. This may be reviewed earlier if the COVID-19 Alert is reduced to Levels 1 or 2,” says Mrs Hewitt.

“While most bus services will be returning to normal from next Tuesday, there are some schedule changes. It is recommend that people regularly check out Horizons’ bus notices webpage for the most up-to-date timetable information.

Mrs Hewitt says that on Wednesday 29 April, the Capital Connection commuter train will also resume normal services.

“Carriages will be set up to be COVID-19 compliant, meaning a smaller number of passengers than usual can be carried to respect physical distancing.

“The Café on all services will not be open. This will be reviewed when the alert level reduces to Level 2.

“The train is currently being stabled in Wellington. On Tuesday evening you will see it travelling back to Palmerston North in readiness for Wednesday morning.”

Please note that in accordance with guidelines set out by the Ministry of Transport, you can only use urban public transport if:

  • You are going to work or school,
  • You are travelling to do low-risk local recreation,
  • You are relocating a home or business,
  • You are travelling for medical reasons,
  • You are travelling because of an emergency or to give effect to a court order,
  • You have an exemption to travel because of compassionate reasons,
  • You are accessing non-essential items, where this is permitted under Alert Level 3 (e.g. picking up an item from a shop)
  • You are travelling between ‘bubbles’ under an ‘extended bubble arrangement’ or ‘shared bubble arrangement’
  • If you are able to travel on public transport, please try and avoid peak times unless you are a worker or are travelling to an educational facility.
Even if you fall within one of the groups above, you cannot travel if: you are required to self-isolate (e.g. you have arrived from overseas); have symptoms of COVID-19; are being tested for COVID-19; or are a suspected, probable or confirmed case of COVID-19. See here for more information.