How To Ride A Bus In New Zealand?

Don’t even try to question my authority because I don’t have any. LOL. I’m just trying to help. Continue reading if you are one or many or all of these things:

  1. You are new in New Zealand.
  2. You don’t own a car yet.
  3. You still need to learn how to drive.
  4. Your friends and family who drive and have cars are too busy to drive you around or you just don’t want to bother anybody.
  5. You need to go to a specific place or you just want to go out and explore.

If you are one or many or all of these things then you got no choice but to learn how to ride a bus.

Nervous? For sure, but don’t worry. The things that I’ll teach you might somehow help you gain confidence in riding your first NZ bus. (Hopefully)

Knowing Your Bus

This is the most important thing to know. You can be assured that as long as you hop on the right bus, you will never get lost. How do you do this? It’s quite tricky. You start by checking MaxxΒ (it’s a website, not a person lol) for Auckland (MetlinkΒ for Wellington) and typing the locations where you are coming from and where you are going. Sounds easy? Nah.

Website Tip: Often, if you select the bus stops nearest your origin to the bus stop nearest your destination, it doesn’t give you the best (or sometimes the correct) bus travels. An example of a wrong search result using bus stop numbers is here. To get the best or the right results, it will be easier to just type your origin’s street or road name and your destination’s street or road name too. The website has it’s own auto-suggest feature which will help you get it. However, another issue you will encounter with this is Maxx has its own codenames (example here) for the street or road names so you also need to familiarize yourself with your the other connecting streets, roads, or area. This is where Google Maps would come in handy.

Once you get the results, check if it’s right. The right results won’t let you walk one thousand miles away to get to the bus stop. LOL. If the walk way is short and the map showing is familiar to you, then it is the right result. Make sure you write down (or print or memorize) your bus number and all other details. Here is an example of a correct search result.

Important: Don’t you want to go back home? Make sure that you don’t forget to check your return journey by clicking the link on the bottom of the results. The problem that you might encounter with the return journey feature is that it doesn’t give you the time that you most probably would want to go home. It still gives the schedules of the time that you originally searched for. So how to resolve this? Click the “More Times” link and you would come up with a time pattern or a guess. If you really want to make sure, just do another search this time coming from your original destination to your original origin.

Riding The Bus

Okay so it is your first time riding a bus. Make sure you have your coins handy, preferably the exact amount, and wait patiently for the bus to come. The bus sometimes come a minute or two early, on time, or usually late so make sure you allot ample time for waiting. Also while waiting, you can check the bus schedule, if available, which is usually posted on the bus stop shelter, so you can get familiarized with its routine.

Once you see a bus oncoming, check the number that’s flashing in front and make sure it is your bus number. If it is, you need to give a sign or gesture that you are going to ride it, either by standing up and walking closer to the edge of the platform or simply wave (it’s a free country haha). If you don’t give a sign and you expect the bus to stop while you’re sitting pretty then you are mistaken. The bus will just run past you and you will need to wait for the next bus.

Once the bus stops in front of you, carefully ride in, put your exact amount of coins on the tray (some bus drivers get annoyed if you try to hand them your coins so don’t forget to put it on the tray) tell the driver where you’re going. He pushes some buttons and the machine automatically prints a receipt which you have to tear yourself. Remember, a lot of things in New Zealand are self service. After taking the receipt you can take a seat that you’ll be most comfortable in. Refrain from putting your bag next to you simply because it is rude. Once you’ve sat down, relax and enjoy the ride.

Hopping Off The Bus

This is most critical. You might not be familiar with the places so you wouldn’t know when to press the “STOP” buttons located around the bus. You can talk to the bus driver prior to sitting down about where you want to go and specifically tell him to tell you when and where you need to hop off. Most bus drivers would understand this (except those very few who are always irritated and unhappy with their lives and work that they won’t even smile at you lol). If you have not previously arranged this with the bus driver then you would have to watch closely where the bus is going, read the street signs and be alert. Bringing a map never gets old. Also, if you have taken note of the duration of your bus travel from Maxx, then you would have an idea when you are already nearing your destination by checking the time. And whenever you feel that the road is already familiar be ready to press stop. Once you have done so, and the bus already stopped, hop off carefully and don’t forget to wave or give a smile to the very kind bus driver. If you hopped off a bus stop early or late then it’s still okay. You can get some exercise by walking.

Yipee! You’ve rode your first bus! Congratulations! Weeee..

Next target (note to self haha): Buy your own car and learn how to drive. ^_^

—- Quick update
There are reloadable bus cards available for different types of buses so you don’t have to pay coins. The most popular one is the HOP Card which can be used for North Star, Go West, Waka Pacific, Metrolink and Link Buses. For more information on these, search Google.


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Just doing what I got to do.

11 thoughts on “How To Ride A Bus In New Zealand?”

  1. thanks for the info. para na rin akong napunta dyan. teka, papaano kung wala kang barya? can you get your change from the tray? and can you buy a monthly pass, too, so you don’t have to worry about bringing the right change? and libre ba si bossing o magbabayad din?

    1. Pwede naman po. Iaabot nya po sa iyo yung change. Hehe.. Meron pong tinatawag na hop card for Northern Express and NorthStar buses. Para siyang stored value card ng MRT at LRT pero mas sosyal kasi nache-check ang balance online at nare-reloadan yung same card. Hehe..

      Libre po ang bata basta 4 years old and below.

  2. Nice entry. I’ll revisit this when I go to NZ to visit you. Haha. πŸ˜†

    Here in SG naman, instead of dropping coins, we use EZLink.. Its a PUB card (MRT, Bus.. Sometimes can be used to pay for taxi fares), just don’t forget to top-up (reload) before the value gets to zero. I never enjoyed commuting this much (except for the amoy ng mga tao.. Haha) Sana sa Pinas maging maayos na din ang transpo system noh. Laking ginhawa siguro para sa mga kababayan natin. πŸ™‚

      1. Dito rin sis. Katulad ng comment ko kay Mr. Plaridel, dito rin merong tinatawag na Hop Card para dun sa specific buses, na reloadable card for riding buses. Teka mailagay nga yun sa dulo. Harhar.. Baka kasi isipin ng lahat low tech yung buses nila. Haha..

  3. Hmn, parang ang kumplikado ah hehehe. dito na lang muna ako sa pInas, sakay lang and then baba, kahit walang bayad bwahahahaha! kidding πŸ˜€

    Sending you hugs, Milai!

    1. Naku naranasan ko na po mag-123 nung highschool kami. Hahahhahaha.. Walang-wala na kasing kaperahan pero kailangan pa rin pumasok. Hahahha..

      Uu nga po eh. Mukha syang komplikado sa umpisa pero in the long run na-realize ko po na ang ayos ng ganitong sistema. Sana may ganyan din sa mga jeep natin at bus sa Pilipinas para hindi masyado magulo yung kalsada.

  4. pareho lang din dito sa alemanya… pero para mas mura at hindi hassle, pwedeng bumili ng bus tickets earlier. may discount kapag mas marami. at dito pwede isakay ang aso sa bus at train, kaso may bayad din sila, depende sa laki πŸ˜€ ang mga bata until 6 years old libre at oo, kahit hindi sila ikandong ok lang.

    at dahil asa maliit na barangay ako, iisang bus lang dumadaan dito. at kapag saturday, sunday at holidays, madalang ang bus 😦

    1. Naku mahirap yata yung iisang bus lang ang dumadaan ah. Pero sa bagay pag may kotse naman carry lang po di ba?

      Dito rin po pwedeng bumili ng tickets earlier pero walang discount pag marami. Hindi ko sure kung pwedeng isakay ang aso. Wala pa akong nakita so far. Tapos dito po hanggang below 5 lang ang libreng sakay.

      Pero minsan dahil hindi masyadong malaki yung anak ko, kahit 5 years old na siya hindi na siya pinagbabayad ng bus driver. Haha..

  5. Medyo pareho din dito sa Melbourne… pero medyo iba rin. Kasi di kami sa tray nagbabayad. Usually, ang mga passengers, may ticket na, kasi kadalasan, galing na sila sa pagsakay ng train. Pero meron ding iba na wala pang ticket, so bibili din sa bus driver pero diretso bigay ng pera sa driver (walang tray..hehe), tapos iinsert sa validating machine. Yung tickets naman, may 2-hour, daily, weekly, monthly or yearly. Yung kaibigan ko dito na Pinay, first niya na sakay ng bus, sabi niya sa driver, bili daw siya ng one-way ticket. Natawa yung driver. Buti’t friendly din yung driver, kaya tinuruan siya kung paano ang ticketing dito, hindi by number of trips gaya sa ‘pinas, kundi by period of time. πŸ˜€

    1. Uy ang sosyal! Period of time ang ticketing? Hindi ko alam yun ah. Di ko alam kung ganun din yung mga prepaid tickets ng bus dito. Hindi ko pa na-try gumamit ng ganun eh. Pero napansin ko marami ngang pakita ng pakita ng ganung klaseng ticket sa bus driver tapos uupo na sila. So di ko alam kung by number of trips yun or period katulad ng sinasabi mo. Hmmm.. Ma-research nga.

      Ang gamit ko lang kasi yung reloadable Hop card. Per ride ang bayad doon. O kaya naman cash.

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