Horizons Region gets new electronic bus card

A regional integrated ticketing system is being rolled out in the Horizons Region, with Whanganui buses the first to get the new tag on tag off system.

Horizons transport manager Phil Hindrup says Whanganui will be the first city in the region to make the switch to the new Bee Card on 9 December.

“For Whanganui, from 9 December Horizons’ GoCard will no longer work. Palmerston North, Marton, Feilding, Ashhurst, and Levin will follow suit, making the switch to the Bee Card in early 2020,” says Mr Hindrup.

“Bee Cards will be free for a limited time with a minimum five dollar top up.

“We’re encouraging passengers to get their new Bee Card in time for the switch, either on board the bus, at the Whanganui i-Site, or Horizons’ office on Guyton Street.

“Bee Cards are also available to order from beecard.co.nz, however we recommend picking them up in person to ensure you have your card in-hand ready for the switch.”

Horizons Chair Rachel Keedwell is pleased to see the Bee Card introduced to the region’s passenger transport services.

“The Bee Card is a welcomed change as the tag on tag off functionality provides us with rich data, some of which we aren’t able to currently collect. This data includes information on passenger use, hot spots along the routes and fare collection, which will be highly beneficial in informing our future network planning,” explains Cr Keedwell.

“The Bee Card has new features for our passengers too if they register the card online at beecard.co.nz. These features include being able to check the card balance online, manage multiple cards - which will be so handy for families, and setting up an Auto Top Up to ensure you will always have sufficient funds to travel.

“Concessions for seniors, beneficiaries, students and children can also be loaded onto the card once it’s registered, ensuring these passengers are all charged the correct boarding price without the need to show ID. Our SuperGold Card customers will all need to get their concession loaded on to the card in order to access the national free travel scheme.

“In the lead up to the switch, we’re encouraging existing GoCard users to run their balances down as they will have to apply in person at our Horizons Whanganui office to have their balances transferred after the Bee Card goes live.”

Horizons is one of nine New Zealand regions moving to the Bee Card. A consortium of regional councils has been formed to make the project more cost effective and ensure robust technology, and shared marketing resources.

“Many of the regions were facing out of date, and increasingly obsolete technology with their bus ticketing systems, while others hadn’t previously had cards available,” explains Mr Hindrup.

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

“The Bee Card system is provided by German-based INIT, who is a world-wide supplier of technology solutions in the public transport sector.

“Horizons are the second region to roll out the Bee Card, and we have decided to progressively launch within our region as we have numerous centres to target.

“The remaining regions will begin to launch in 2020.”