Travelling on public transport

Advice on how to travel safely on public transport, including buses, trains, domestic flights, taxis and ride-shares.

Guidance at all Alert Levels

Do not use public transport if you are unwell

Help limit the spread of any virus by staying at home if you are unwell.

Do not travel if you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms, are awaiting a COVID-19 test result or if you have been asked to self-isolate.

If you're unwell and must travel, private transport is required. If that's not possible, call Healthline for guidance first on 0800 358 5453.

Always wear a face covering on public transport

Everyone 12 years and older legally must wear a face covering on public transport at all Alert Levels. Drivers of taxi and ride-share services legally must wear face coverings — while passengers do not need to, we strongly encourage you to.

Drivers and transport operators will not stop people without face coverings from boarding public transport. This is because some people will have legitimate reasons for not wearing a face covering.  

However, where possible, drivers will be encouraging passengers to wear a face covering.

Who needs to wear a face covering

Practise good hygiene habits

  • Wash your hands before and after travelling.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow.
  • Where possible, use hand sanitiser before and after you enter or exit public transport.
  • When you get home, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water and dry them thoroughly.

Scan in or keep a record of which service you travel 

Scan the QR code or keep a record of which service you travelled with and when. This will help with contract tracing for any cases in your community.

Video: Why we wear a face covering on planes and public transport

Travelling on public transport at Alert Level 1

At Alert Level 1, you can travel but try to do it in a safe way.

  • Do not use public transport if you are unwell.
  • Always wear a face covering on public transport and domestic flights, unless you have an exemption.
    Face covering exemptions for some people and services
  • Practise good hygiene habits.
  • Scan in or keep a record of which service you travel.
  • Public transport operators legally must display QR code posters to help you keep track of where you’ve been. We recommend you use the NZ COVID Tracer app to do this, or another way that works for you.

Taxi and ride-share services at Alert Level 1

  • Drivers of taxis and ride-share services legally must wear a face covering, and passengers are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering too. 
  • Drivers legally must display QR code posters to help you keep track of where you’ve been. We recommend you use the NZ COVID Tracer app to do this, or another way that works for you.

Living at Alert Level 1, including keeping your distance, wearing face coverings and contact tracing for businesses

Travelling on public transport at Alert Level 2

At Alert Level 2, you can travel, but make sure you do it in a safe way.

  • Do not travel to events which do not meet the requirements for gatherings at Alert Level 2.
  • Do not use public transport if you are unwell.
  • Always wear a face covering on public transport and domestic flights, unless you have an exemption.
    Face covering exemptions for some people and services
  • Practise good hygiene habits.
  • Scan in or keep a record of which service you travel.
  • Public transport operators legally must display QR code posters to help you keep track of where you’ve been. We recommend you use the NZ COVID Tracer app to do this, or another way that works for you.
  • Avoid sitting or standing next to someone you do not know, where possible.
  • Do not travel if you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms, are awaiting a test or if you need to self-isolate.

Taxi and ride-share services at Alert Level 2

  • If you’re healthy and do not have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms, you can use taxis and ride-share services to travel anywhere in New Zealand.
  • Apart from the driver, only travel with people you know, for example friends and family.
  • Minimise the number of stops on the way to your destination.
  • Drivers of taxis and ride-share services legally must wear a face covering and passengers are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering too. 
  • Drivers legally must display QR code posters to help you keep track of where you’ve been. We recommend you use the NZ COVID Tracer app to do this, or another way that works for you.

Domestic flights at Alert Level 2

You can take a domestic flight for recreation and tourism.

  • Follow all the guidance from transport operators and crew.
  • Sit only in your allocated seat onboard the aircraft.
  • Maintain physical distancing where you can.
  • Keep a record of your journey.
  • Always wear a face covering, unless you have an exemption.
    Face covering exemptions for some people and services
  • Practise good hygiene habits.

Cook Strait ferries at Alert Level 2

You can use the Cook Strait ferries for recreation and tourism. 

  • Follow the instructions and guidance from crew and transport operators.
  • Maintain physical distancing where you can.
  • Comply with any temporary barriers and seat signage telling you where you’re allowed to sit.
  • Maintain good hygiene all the time — wash your hands regularly, sneeze or cough into your elbow.
  • Keep a record of your journey. 

Get more advice on living at Alert Level 2, including keeping your distance, wearing face coverings and contact tracing for businesses

Travelling on public transport at Alert Level 3

At Alert Level 3, travel is restricted and only allowed for permitted movement in your local area — for example going to work or school if you need to, shopping or getting exercise.

Your local area means the area near your home that you regularly visit for essential services. What is considered local will differ depending on where you live. City dwellers may have a supermarket or dairy close by. If you live rurally, you may need to take a drive to reach these.

If you do not have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms, you can use public transport for only the following reasons:

  • accessing local services and businesses
  • going to work or school for those who have to
  • low-risk exercise in your local area
  • visiting people in your bubble
  • travelling to permitted gatherings.

Remember, any unnecessary travel may spread COVID-19.

Taxi and ride-share services at Alert Level 3

  • Apart from the driver, only travel with people you know, for example friends and family.
  • Minimise the number of stops on the way to your destination.
  • Drivers of taxis and ride-share services legally must wear a face covering and passengers are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering too. 
  • Drivers legally must display QR code posters to help you keep track of where you’ve been. We recommend you use the NZ COVID Tracer app to do this, or another way that works for you.

If you do not have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms, you can use taxis and ride-share services for only the following reasons:

  • accessing local services and businesses
  • going to work or school for those who have to
  • low-risk exercise in your local area
  • visiting people in your bubble
  • travelling to permitted gatherings.

Remember, any unnecessary travel may spread COVID-19.

Get more advice on living at Alert Level 3, including keeping your distance, wearing face coverings and contact tracing for businesses

Regional travel at Alert Level 3

Travel between Alert Level areas is strictly limited.

Anyone wanting to travel into and out of an Alert Level 3 area needs to check whether they are permitted to do so.

You may go in or out of an Alert Level 3 area but only if that travel is permitted under the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Alert Level Requirements) Order, or you have an exemption granted by the Director-General of Health under that Order.

If there is an Alert Level 3 boundary, we will publish information on this website about which travel is permitted.

Information about regional travel

Last updated: