Public transport in Invercargill
Invercargill offered several zero-fare bus services in the first decade of the century.
The Freebie was a zero-fare loop service in the inner city, The Purple Circle was a free suburban bus circuit, and all other suburban bus services operated zero-fare between 9:00 am and 2:30 pm daily. The Mayor of Invercargill, Tim Shadbolt told a conference of New Zealand's Disabled Persons Assembly in October 2002 that Invercargill had an innovative approach to public transport, and that he hoped in future that all buses in Invercargill would be free and accessible.
However, central government requirements (NZ Transport Agency) for regional authorities to aim for a 50% fare recovery from public transport led to Invercargill's zero-fare services being discontinued, and new bus routes and timetables operated by BusSmart were introduced in December 2012. Senior citizens are still provided free off-peak travel via the government's SuperGold Travel Scheme, and children up to Year 8 at school also travel for free in the off-peak period. BusSmart's new routes are Waikiwi Link, Windsor Comet, Heidelberg Star and Kew Connection.
Other transport services
Invercargill has two taxi companies:
- Invercargill Taxis
- Blue Star Taxis
Organising public transport in Invercargill
The Invercargill City Council specifies, tenders, subsidises and contracts with bus operators for provision of public transport in Invercargill. Passenger Transport Ltd currently holds this contract.
Past service modes
From the opening of the Bluff Branch in 1867 until the cancellation of the final service in 1967, passenger trains operated between Invercargill and Bluff for commuters and school children. In 1950, seven trains ran each way on the average weekday, with eight on Fridays, five on Saturdays, and one on Sundays. By 1967, only one train ran each way on weekdays for the benefit of school children, and due to being unviable, it was cancelled.
Invercargill formerly had the southernmost tram system in the world. Construction began in January 1911 and two lines of 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge track were opened on 26 March 1912, one to Waikiwi and one to Georgetown. Later that year, two more lines opened, one to North Invercargill and one to South Invercargill; the latter was the southernmost electrified street tram line in the world and ran to Tramway Road. In practice, the network operated as two routes: Route A between Georgetown and Waikiwi and Route B between North and South Invercargill.
The Waikiwi line closed in 1947, though a portion remained in operation until 1951. The Georgetown route was closed on 2 July 1951, but the portion to Rugby Park Stadium remained open until August 1951. The South Invercargill line was next to close, on 31 May 1952, and the system's final route, to North Invercargill, ceased operations on 10 September 1952.
- Terminal Facilities on Invercargill Airport website
- Graham Stewart, The End of the Penny Section: When Trams Ruled the Streets of New Zealand, rev. ed. (Wellington: Grantham House, 1993), p. 112.
- Stewart, The End of the Penny Section, p. 236.
- Stewart, The End of the Penny Section, p. 142.