BeeCard FAQs

From Monday 3 August passengers will be able to pay for their travel using the new Bee Card. Here's what you need to know.

What is a Bee Card?

Bee Card is a prepay travel card that can be used on buses in the Nelson and Tasman region. It is also available in 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, Manawatu-Whanganui, Nelson, Otago and Invercargill.

How much does a Bee Card cost?

Cards cost $5.00 and are non-refundable.

You will need to top up your card so you can travel. The minimum top up is $5 and the maximum is $299. If you have a registered card, you can transfer money stored on the card to a new card if it is lost or stolen. We cannot do this with unregistered cards, though. There are no transaction fees for topping up your card.

Where can I get a card?

Nelson City Council, Nelson Public Libraries (Elma Turner and Stoke), Nelson SBL bus depot, Tasman District Council and Richmond Library, via the Bee Card website, click ‘Get a Card’ in the top menu once you have created an account.

What bus services can I use Bee Card on?

Bee Card can be used on all NBus Services; R1-R7, the new loop route in Richmond and the Late Late Bus. This excludes SBL commercial and Ministry of Education services.

Why should I use a Bee Card?

You no longer need to worry about having cash for your journey. You can register your card online to manage your account, allowing you the ability to:

  • Top up the card online
  • Set-up an automated top up, so you always have money on your card
  • Apply and manage concessions, such as SuperGold
  • View your transactions and journey history
  • Link other people’s cards to your account – so you can top up family member’s cards
  • Cancel lost or stolen cards – and transfer over any unused money
  • For some concessions (child and Supergold) you will no longer have to show your driver your ID as the concession will be loaded onto your card.

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 on your website account. If transactions or changes haven't appeared in your account, please check back after 12 hours. 

If there's still a problem, you can contact Council on 03 546 0200 or in person at our Customer Service Centre.

How much will my trip cost?

Bee Cards allow bus users to pay less for their travel when compared to the cash fare. The table below outlines the differences in fares for each zone:

Concession: child, student (with ID or in uniform), SuperGold Cardholder, Community Services Cardholder.
Full: All others.
Child: 5-18 years. Under 5s travel free.
Super Gold Card Concessions travel free with a Bee Card between 9am and 3pm and on the Late Late Bus.

How do I register my Bee Card?

First go to and set up an account – you will see the ‘Create Account’ button to click on the top right of the page. Fill in your details and choose a password. Once your account is created you will be taken to a page with an option to register your card. Click on that button and fill in the required details and you are ready to go. You can also set up your account at Nelson and Tasman Council’s Customer Service Centres.

Can I still pay for my journey with cash?

Yes, drivers will still accept cash for your journey. You can also top up your Bee Card on the bus, but drivers can only accept exact money. This means that if you have a ten dollar note, drivers will only be able to put $10 on the card and will not be able to give change.

Do I have to register my Bee Card?

You do not have to register your Bee Card, but please note that we cannot replace any remaining money on a lost or stolen Bee Card if it hasn’t been registered.

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 retail outlet or on the bus, your money is loaded on to your card straight away.

Why doesn't my online transaction list 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 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 passenger's 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.

Where can I top up in person?

You can top up at Nelson City Council, Nelson Public Libraries (Elma Turner and Stoke). Nelson SBL bus depot, Tasman District Council and Richmond Library.

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.

To load your SuperGold concession onto your Bee Card, you will need to register your card at and click on ‘Concessions’ in the top menu. Alternatively, we can help you load your SuperGold card at Nelson or Tasman Council Customer Service Centres.

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

For children who are between 5 and 18 years old, the child concession will be automatically applied to your card when you register it. Children under 5 travel free.

I travel using another concession (e.g. tertiary student, community service), 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 Nelson City Council or Tasman District Council Customer Service Centre. Only SuperGold and child concessions can be loaded online through the Bee Card website as well as in person.