eBus FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about the new bus service in our region.


Why don’t the buses go past 7pm?

The Late Late Bus is our current late night service on Friday and Saturday nights. We are assessing the role this service will have in the future and considering whether the time, and routes of this service will change in upcoming years. The August 1 upgrade concentrates on improving the frequency and coverage of the bus service as a first step, together with lower fares.

New buses

Why do we need 17 new buses?

The increased frequency and additional routes require more buses than the current fleet of public transport buses.

Are the new buses the same size as the current fleet?

There are currently two types of public transport buses in use in Nelson and Richmond. The first is a Mercedes Sprinter van (on Routes 3, 4, 5 and 6 as well as the Stoke and Richmond loops) and the other are larger buses on Routes 1 and 2. The new electric buses are 12.5m long, compared with the current larger buses which are 13.5m and the Sprinters, which will be used for the new Stoke On Demand service, are 7m.

Are the buses too long to get around our roundabouts and corners or over raised pedestrian crossings?

To allow the new buses to travel down new routes we have to make adjustments. There are some old raised tables along new routes where we need to modify the ramps. In addition, as the service has been extended to include new areas, some modifications have needed to be made (eg. Nelson Airport).

How do I pay?

What is the new fare structure?

As long as you use a Bee Card, any journey taken on Routes 1-4, urban routes between Nelson and Richmond, will cost $2. Less if you have a concession. The latest central government budget also announced free fares for five-12 year olds and half price for under-25s, which are due to start later this year.

Can we pay cash when catching the bus?

Yes, drivers will accept cash for your journey. However, users with a Bee Card pay a lower fare compared to those paying with cash. With a Bee Card you can have concessions loaded (eg. Gold Card), then tag on and off the bus for the zone you have traveled.

Can you use your gold card?

Passengers with Super Gold Concessions travel free with Bee card between 9am – 3pm. You will need to obtain a Bee Card with your Super Gold Card loaded, which you can do at Nelson and Tasman Council Customer Service Centres. Once this is done, you won’t be required to show your Super Gold Card when boarding.

Where on the expanded Tasman route can you find a Bee Card?

We’re excited to expand our service into Tasman. Council is working through soon to be announced options for where passengers can easily access a Bee Card.


What route services the airport?

Route 4 goes from The Brook, through the Nelson city centre interchange, into Tāhunanui and through to the airport.

How often will the bus go to Motueka?

There are four services from Motueka each day and four services going back. These are timed so people can use them to commute to work.

How often will the bus go to Wakefield?

There are six services from Wakefield to Nelson each day, and six services going back in the opposite direction. These are timed so people can use them to commute for work.

When will Wakefield and Motueka get a weekend service?

Weekend services to Motueka and Wakefield will come in 2026.

What does express mean?

Buses on routes 5 and 6 travel to Richmond before carrying on to Nelson, via the hospital. Instead of stopping at all the bus stops between Richmond and Nelson, they will only stop at the hospital interchange and the city centre hub interchange. In addition, routes 5 and 6 can take Wakatu Drive instead of Main Road Stoke. This means that passengers in Richmond will be able to take the faster express bus to Nelson centre or the Hospital and vice versa.

Do the new routes from Tasman connect with the airport?

The airport route is a part of Route 4 which goes from The Brook, through the Nelson city centre interchange into Tāhunanui and then to the airport. Monday to Friday, passengers looking to take the bus from the airport back to Wakefield, Brightwater, Motueka, Mapua and Hope can stay on Route 4 back to the Nelson city centre interchange where they can catch Route 5 which will go directly from Nelson to Motueka, or Route 6 from Nelson to Wakefield. Alternatively, passengers going to Stoke or Richmond can change from the Route 4 bus to the Route 2 bus at the Tāhunanui Interchange.

Will there be a bus to Hira and The Glen?

The new eBus services do not include routes to the Glen or Hira. Council is investigating options for community services to these communities over the coming year.

Electric buses

Are all the buses electric?

Eighty percent of our fleet is now electric. Please note, the back-up buses to cater for servicing, overflow, capacity and where buses can’t stay in the Richmond depot overnight will not be electric, so there will still be some low-emission diesel buses operating on the network at times. The bus servicing the Stoke on Demand route will be low emission diesel.

How much power does it take to charge 17 buses and is the infrastructure in place?

Bus services contractor SBL is creating a new bus depot in Richmond, which includes all the charging infrastructure. They have been working with Network Tasman to ensure the network has capacity. It is important to note that the batteries will not be empty at the end of each day and in some situations, a bus may just require a top up.

How long the batteries will last?

The fleet will be fitted with Lithium iron phosphate batteries, which offer a longer cycle life than other lithium-ion batteries. These are expected to have a lifecycle of up to 10 years. They come with an eight-year, or 640,000km warranty.

What is the plan for the electric bus batteries when they need replacing and disposal?

They will either be repurposed as battery storage for a solar panel array on the bus depot in Richmond or used on shorter routes.


Are these buses wheelchair accessible?

As with the current fleet, the new buses will be accessible for wheelchair users.


Will there be bike carriers on the front like the existing buses?

Absolutely! Each bus will be able to carry two (2) bicycles, as they can currently. If you have an eBike where the battery can be removed please do so to reduce weight on the racks.

What will the rules be in regards to taking a well behaved dog on the bus?

Small dogs are currently allowed on the Nbus service provided they are in a pet-suitable container, and this will not change with our new ebus service. Certified disability assist dogs are also able to accompany their owners on public transport. Companion animals can potentially be registered as Certified Disability Assist Dogs, and there is information about how to do this at companionanimals.nz. Our mid-term review of the current Regional Public Transport Plan will start in 2024 and this issue will be included in the review.

Can I bring luggage on my trip to the airport?

Yes, there is space for larger bags at the front of the eBuses.

Contact us for more Information

Have questions or want to learn more about a project, contact us below:

03 546 0200

Nelson City Council, PO Box 645, Nelson 7040.
Freepost 76919