The operator of Queenstown’s two snow fields has jacked up bus transport rates, arguing it’s been subsidised in the past.
NZSki has put up the cost of a return bus trip from town to The Remarkables from $5 last season to $15 for the coming winter. The Coronet Peak return bus trip climbs from $12 to $15.
The direct bus service from hotels to either mountain has gone from $25 to $30. At the same time, NZSki has scrapped a $200 unlimited bus-pass add-on that was available to season ticket holders.
Instead, it’s introduced concession passes offering five return rides from the downtown Snow Centre pick-up on Duke Street to either mountain for $60 – which works out to be $12 a time. A 10-trip concession is $110.
NZSki marketing boss Craig Douglas says the new prices are a more accurate reflection of the cost of running the service and investment in the transport fleet.
“When we came in and established this, we were taking out some local commercial operators. We’re now operating at a much more commercially realistic level – as far as what it costs to travel on a bus around here.
“Up till now it’s been heavily subsidised but now it’s established and has to stand on its own two feet.”
Douglas admits The Remarkables’ return trip rise of 300 per cent looks like a “stupid number”.
“It looks crazy, but that’s because it was subsidised to start with. We have to make the changes – we’re not increasing costs anywhere else, so that brings a focus on those areas we have been subsidising.”
Douglas says two new buses have been ordered for this season.
NZSki has frozen its pass prices for this season – they’re the same as 2011.