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New service: Camp St this morning

Queenstown’s much-heralded new bus service began this morning with teething issues across the network.

The new Orbus service features an expanded network, more frequent buses, and a $2 one-way flat rate to travel anywhere.

It is a joint initiative between Otago Regional Council, Queenstown Lakes District Council and NZ Transport Agency, which aims to reduce congestion by providing a viable alternative to the car.

But the Ritchies-operated service was beset by problems on the first day with reports of late buses, breakdowns and new drivers who did not know where they were going.

It did, however, appear to be well-used. Many of the new Orbuses were full and there were queues at some stops in the suburbs.

Mayor Jim Boult caught the first Orbus from Arrowtown with NZTA South Island director Jim Harland at 6am.

The service is free for the first week.

An official launch event takes place today at 10am on the Village Green.

It will be funded by rates, central government and hiked parking charges in Queenstown CBD.

The new network has routes to the major suburbs; Arrowtown, Arthurs Point, Kelvin Heights, Lake Hayes, Frankton, and Jack’s Point, stopping many places along the way.