Frequently Asked Questions

These are the most frequently asked questions. Click on a question to expand the answer. If you have a question that isn't addressed on this page, contact us here.

What is a Bee Card?

Bee Card is the prepay travel smartcard for nine different regions of New Zealand. You can use your Bee Card for local public transport in Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Hawke's Bay, Taranaki, Manawatū-Whanganui, Nelson, Otago and Invercargill.

Why should I use a Bee Card?

  • In most cases Bee Card fares are cheaper than cash fares.
  • It's faster - you don't have to wait in line to pay the bus driver.
  • If you're eligible for a concession in your region (for example, SuperGold card holders, school children), you won't need to show your ID to the driver anymore - instead, you'll be able to preload your concession onto your card so that you get it automatically every time.
  • You can register your card online to manage your account:
    • Top up online
    • Set up an auto top up so you always have money on your card
    • Load child or SuperGold Card concessions
    • View your transactions and journey history
    • Link other people's cards to your account -- so that you can
    • add value to cards for family members
    • Cancel lost or stolen cards

How does the Bee Card work?

Bee Card is a tag on tag off ticketing system - when you board the bus, hold your card over the card reader to tag on. Wait for the beep and green screen, then you're ready to go. When you've reached your destination, do the same again to tag off. It's important to tag off to ensure you are charged the correct fare.

Information about your card and account is sent to the card readers via the central Bee Card system.  It can take up to 12 hours for transactions and changes to show in your website account.  If are transactions or changes that haven't appeared in your account yet, please check back after 12 hours.  If there's still a problem, contact your local customer service point.

How quickly will my balance be available on my Bee Card?

Online transactions generally go through the system within 12 hours. If you top up your card at a customer services point or on the bus, your money is loaded on to your card straight away.

Why doesn't my online transaction list doesn't show my top up?

With Bee Card, all data is stored on the card itself, but online transactions won't show on your card until it's next tagged on to a Bee Card device. In the meantime, your top up shows as pending in your online account.

Can I still pay with cash?

Yes, you can pay the driver with cash when you board the bus but remember - in most public transport networks cash fares are more expensive than Bee Card fares.

Can I use my Bee Card to pay for more than one person?

We recommend that every passenger has their own Bee Card but you can pay for other passengers' fares with your card if needed. You'll need to speak to the driver, and any extra passengers will be charged the adult fare price.

How much does a Bee Card cost?

Cards cost $5.00. This is a non-refundable issuance fee and the card remains the property of the issuing council.

For a limited there is no charge for the Bee Card when you order it online. If you are picking up a Bee Card in person there will be no charge for the card for a promotional period. Find out more by selecting your regional information page from the list on the right.

You will need to top up your card so you can travel. The minimum top up varies by region, please check your regional pages for more detail.

Where can I get a card?

Select your regional information page to see where you can get a card.

You can also get a card through the Bee Card website. Cards ordered online cost $5.00, including postage, and are sent directly to your preferred address. Card orders are processed within five working days and then delivered via standard mail service, delivery is only available to New Zealand addresses. You'll also need to add at least $5.00 minimum value to your card when you order your Bee Card.

When your Bee Card arrives, you will need to go back to the website and register the card to your Bee Card account. The card is then activated when you first tag on the bus.

If your card hasn't arrived within 10 working days, please contact your local customer service point.

I have a SuperGold Card, do I need a Bee Card?

Yes, you will need to have a Bee Card to access your SuperGold free off-peak travel concession. You'll also need to ensure that your SuperGold concession is loaded onto your Bee Card. After that, you won't need to show your SuperGold Card to the driver when you board - but you will need to carry it with you to show on request. Your Bee Card will cost $5.00 plus a minimum top up. The minimum top up varies by region, please check your regional page for more detail.

If you get your card via the Bee Card website, it will cost $5.00 including postage, and will be sent directly to you. Card orders are processed within five working days and then delivered via standard mail service, delivery is only available to New Zealand addresses.

If your card hasn't arrived within 10 working days, please contact your local customer service point.

I'm a school student, how do I get my concession?

For children who are between 5 and 15 years old, the child concession will be automatically applied to your card when you register it. If you are 16 years or older and attending school, please contact your local customer service point for details on how to load your concession.

I travel using another concession (e.g. tertiary student, community services card), how do I access my discount?

You'll need to register your Bee Card and provide proof of your eligibility for the concession. To load the concession on your Bee Card, you'll need to take your card and proof of eligibility to your local customer service point. Only SuperGold and child concessions can be loaded online through the Bee Card website as well as in person.

Adult smartcard fares, Child and SuperGold concessions are available across all regions. Other concessions are only valid within the region your card was issued in.

Why should I register my Bee Card?

By registering your Bee Card, you have access to a number of additional benefits, including:

  • Online top up
  • Set up an auto top up so you always have money on your card
  • Load child or SuperGold Card concessions
  • View your transactions and journey history
  • Link other people's cards to your account -- so that you can top
  • up cards for family members
  • Cancel lost or stolen cards

How do I register my Bee Card?

First you'll need to create a Bee Card account online or at your local customer service point. Then you'll be able to order cards, or follow the easy steps to register a card to your account.

Do I have to top up before I can use my Bee Card and is there a minimum top up amount?

Yes, you'll need to top up a minimum of $5.00 when you order a Bee Card through this website.

If you are loading a SuperGold Concession on to a Bee Card you do not have to top up when purchasing the card but we recommend it so that you can use your Bee Card to travel during non-free periods.

The minimum top up amount on bus or at a customer service point varies between regions -- please refer to your regional information pages.

Where can I top up in person?

Contact us

How long does it take for the top up to show on my Bee Card?

Online and Auto Top Up

Online transactions generally go through the system within 12 hours and show on your Bee Card when you tag on. In the meantime, your money is sitting under pending transactions in your online account.

In person

If you top up your card at a customer service point, or on the bus, your money is loaded on to your card straight away.

How does Auto Top Up and Auto Renew work?

Auto Top Up ensures that you'll always have enough balance on your Bee Card to pay your fare. When your Bee Card balance drops below your selected amount, your card is automatically topped up.

Some regions offer passes which are valid for a certain number of trips or time period. Auto Renew can be used to ensure that your pass is always valid. When your pass is close to expiring, Auto Renew automatically puts a new pass on your card.

We'll send you an email each time your Auto Top Up or Auto Renew is triggered. Please ensure you have sufficient funds to allow us to debit the correct amount. Your Auto Top Up or Auto Renew will stay in effect until you put a hold on it, or cancel it.

What if my payment fails on an Auto Top Up or Auto Renew?

If we are unable to collect payment for your Auto Top Up or Auto Renew, we'll try again after two business days and send you an email each time. After the third failed attempt, the amount will be removed from your card and Auto Top Up or Auto Renew will be cancelled.

Please note that any bank fees that are charged as a result of insufficient funds in your account are your responsibility.

Is my balance protected if my Bee Card is lost, stolen or damaged?

If your registered Bee Card is lost or stolen, you can cancel your card online or in person and your balance can then be transferred to a new card. You will need to pay for a replacement card. Balances cannot be transferred on lost or stolen cards that are not registered.

If we identify a technical fault with your registered Bee Card, we can provide you with a free replacement card. You can then register the new card to your account and complete a balance transfer. If your card is damaged, you will need to pay for a replacement card.

If your Bee Card is not registered and is faulty please contact your local customer service point as the replacement will need to be done in person.

Does my balance/card expire?

No. Your balance stays on your card until such time as the Bee Card ticketing system expires. You will then be able to transfer the balance to any new system that is in operation.

What happens if I forget to tag off?

If you forget to tag on or tag off you will be charged the default fare for failure to tag on or tag off. If this puts your Bee Card balance below $0, you will be unable to tag on again until you top up. The default fare varies by region so check out your local fare information for more details.

I wasn't able to tag on or off

You must still have a valid ticket for travel if your Bee Card is not working and will need to purchase a cash ticket from the bus driver. If your card is not allowing you to tag on or tag off it may be one of the following reasons:

Incorrect tag on

You may not have tagged on at the correct device, or withdrawn your card too quickly from the reader. If there is no beep and green light, please try to tag on again. If you are not sure if you have tagged on, please check with the driver.

Device error

There may be a problem with the device on the bus. Please try again and if there is no beep and green light, check with the driver.

Problems with your Bee Card

You may have a faulty or damaged card. You will need to visit a customer service point, where your card will be checked and the balance transferred if required. The card will be replaced free of charge if a technical fault is detected. Damaged cards will not be replaced free of charge.

Cancelled card

Regional Councils monitor Bee Cards to ensure they are being used correctly, which includes tagging on and tagging off for every trip. If we identify fare evasion or fraudulent behaviour we may cancel your card. If your card is registered, we will try to contact you to discuss the problem. If your Bee Card has been cancelled for these reasons you will need to call us to discuss the next steps.

If there are any issues with your Bee Card or balance, please contact your local customer service point to discuss your concerns.

What if I've been overcharged?

Contact your local customer service point and we will look into it for you.

Will I get a ticket on the bus?

You'll receive a ticket if you pay cash. If using a Bee Card, you don't get a ticket when using the tag on and tag off devices. All your transaction history is available to view on your online account.

How do I view my balance and check transaction history?

Log into your accountand select "Manage Card" under the "Cards" section of the website. From there you can check your balance or view your transaction history.

I no longer need my card, can I get a refund?

No refunds are available except to correct an error made by us, or in cases of extreme financial hardship. If you think you qualify for extreme financial hardship, please contact your local customer service point.

Terms and Conditions of use

Terms and Conditions

How do I look after my Bee Card?

Keep your Bee Card in a safe place to help ensure it doesn't become bent or scratched. Do not punch a hole in it to put it on a lanyard or key chain.

Cards visibly damaged will be charged for replacement. Faulty cards will be replaced free of charge and the balance transferred.

What happens to my personal information and travel history?

Your personal information is kept secure. Your credit/debit card information is managed through a secure third party and not by any of the public transport operators or councils. Tag on information is reported on in an aggregate and anonymous manner for planning purposes, although individual trip information is retained in case of query or complaint. See our Privacy Policy for more information.

How are you protecting my personal information?

The privacy of your personal information is our top priority. Your information and passwords will not be shared and all financial information is kept secure through a certified third party. See our Privacy Policy for more information.

What if I need to file GST returns?

All fares, passes and card issue fees include GST, top ups onto your card do not include any GST. You must not include in your GST return valued topped on to your card. The Bee Card scheme has an exemption from IRD and will not provide GST invoices, other documentation should be used to provide evidence of Bee Card expenditure in your GST returns. If your Bee Card is registered, you are able to obtain a print out of your account to obtain the necessary information.