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Public transport services, including Total Mobility

Public transport

Is public transport free?

Public transport remained free while New Zealand was at Alert Levels 3 and 4, up until 30 June 2020.

Free access to public transport during Alert Levels 3 and 4 helped to maintain physical distancing for passengers and workers, and removed the need to handle cash.

When it’s safe to do so, it’s important that we return to collecting fares as soon as possible.

Public transport fares are expected to be reintroduced during Alert Level 2. Because there are different ticketing systems to work through in each region, some areas or services may start collecting fares sooner than others.

We’ll continue to work with individual councils to support their plans for returning to fare collection as soon as possible.

Check with your local public transport providers or councils to find out more details about public transport in your area.

Who can use public transport during Alert Level 2?

Anyone can use public transport during Alert Level 2. You should keep a safe distance from people you don’t know on public transport, and when you are waiting for services. Follow the guidance in waiting areas and onboard services.

We encourage people to consider staggering their travel to avoid typical morning and evening peak times..

Is public transport safe to use during COVID-19?

Yes, public transport is safe to use throughout all Alert Levels. A number of measures are in place to make sure public transport is safe.

Public transport operators continue to follow Ministry of Health cleaning guidance, including carrying out increased frequency and intensity of cleaning of buses, trains, ferries, and facilities.

Trains, buses and facilities are regularly treated with disinfectant, which is effective in destroying germs. High contact surface, eg, handrails etc, are also regularly wiped down during the day.

What do I need to know if I’m going to use public transport?

Keeping a safe distance from people you don’t know means there’s less capacity on public transport. Allow extra time for your trip and plan ahead.

Your normal bus or train may be full, and you might need to wait for the next service. Standing areas will not be allowed. Please follow the guidance in waiting areas and onboard services, and the instructions of public transport staff.

Please be patient and kind to other travellers, and the public transport workers

If you can, please consider traveling at off peak times.

Keep note of your trip - where you got on and off, and at what times, and where you were seated. This will help with contact tracing, should it be needed.

Always follow Ministry of Health personal hygiene advice and, in addition, either use hand sanitiser or wash your hands before and after using services.

Are school buses different to public transport?

Yes - you may see school buses that are full, and that’s because the physical distancing requirement for school buses and contracted school services is less than for public transport.

This is because schools have a  record of their students who are travelling on specific school bus services, so contact tracing is much easier, if it’s needed.

How are bus drivers and other frontline public transport workers staying safe while working?

The health and safety of our public transport workforce is a top priority. A number of measures are in place to help keep frontline public transport workers safe.

We’re assisting councils and operators to access Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline public transport workers, including face masks and hand sanitiser. We’re also following the Ministry of Health’s clinical advice on the use of PPE for non-health essential workers.

Ministry of Health’s clinical advice on the use of PPE for non-health essential workers(external link)

Total Mobility

What is Total Mobility and who can use the services?

Total Mobility is part of our public transport system and is designed to help people who can’t access standard public transport services. It provides door to door transport for those with long term impairments who are unable to use public transport.

There is no change to the existing eligibility requirements for Total Mobility.

Additional information about Total Mobility

Are Total Mobility trips free?

From 14 April 2020, Total Mobility trips have been free for clients, up to the regional fare subsidy cap.

This means that for a limited time, Total Mobility clients only pay a fare if their trip exceeds the regional fare subsidy cap.

Regional fare subsidy caps are also referred to as maximum contributions per trip and these amounts differ across New Zealand.

Further information about regional schemes [PDF, 186 KB]

When does the fare reduction policy start and when will it finish?

The fare reduction policy took effect from 12:01am Tuesday, 14 April 2020 and will remain in place until 30 June 2020, irrespective of Alert Levels.

From 1 July the Total Mobility fare reduction policy will no longer be in effect and fares will return to normal.

This means that from 12:01am Wednesday, 1 July 2020, Total Mobility clients will need to pay user fares for Total Mobility services.

Why are Total Mobility fares being reintroduced from 1 July 2020?

Reducing fares for Total Mobility was in line with public transport fares being removed during COVID-19 Alert Levels 3 and 4.

Public transport fares  are being reinstated during Alert Level 2, with regional phasing depending on councils’ ticketing systems. Restoring the normal subsidy for Total Mobility fares during Alert Level 2 is in line with policy for public transport across New Zealand, and we have allowed some extra time for this to make the necessary system changes.

Does Total Mobility do deliveries or courier services?

No, Total Mobility is a public transport alternative for people with disabilities, not a delivery service.

There are other more efficient home delivery options available to both Total Mobility cardholders and other people more vulnerable to COVID-19 (eg, people over 70 and those with underlying health conditions).

See further advice on the COVID-19 website (external link)

If Total Mobility clients can’t travel, can someone travelling on their behalf get the discount?

No, the Total Mobility scheme is for transporting the Total Mobility client only.

What ‘policing’ of Total Mobility trips is expected during COVID-19?

We expect councils to continue to monitor Total Mobility usage and address any suspected misuse using existing processes. Should the issue relate specifically to concerns regarding COVID-19 breaches, there are agencies tasked with looking into this. It is important to advise those agencies through the appropriate channels if you have any concerns.

More information(external link)

What do we do if we are concerned about not being able to meet demand?

We understand that fleet and driver capacity will need to be monitored, and councils should raise any issues with Waka Kotahi if there becomes a risk of not being able to meet demand for Total Mobility services.

Capacity is restricted when operating in normal conditions and clients may need to book in advance in the same way they need to under normal circumstances.

What happens if a Total Mobility driver also provides a companion service, or a customer needs help to take their groceries and packages into their destination?

Total Mobility services are expected to be delivered in accordance with the COVID-19 advice provided by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Transport. This may require adjustments to the level of service depending on the COVID-19 alert level.

Visit the Ministry of Transport's website for more information(external link)

Are there any other initiatives available to help vulnerable people access essential goods and services?

There is information available on the COVID-19 website for those who need help accessing essential goods.

Visit the COVID-19 website for more information(external link)

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