Transport & Travel
The University of Otago benefits from a central location in Dunedin, which is both compact and accessible by foot. The residential character of the Dunedin campus, its proximity to the city centre and the presence of private and University-owned student accommodation in the immediate vicinity of the campus, is often seen as an advantage both socially and logistically by potential students and constitutes one of the Dunedin campus’ main assets.
The campus itself has maintained its pedestrian-friendly character over the years, despite the disconnect between the Medical and Dental Schools, Physical Education, Botany and Zoology and the main campus caused by the location of State Highway One, which cuts through the campus in a one way street configuration.
The campus layout and location lend themselves to the use of sustainable forms of transport for commuting and navigating between campus buildings and to the city centre.
As discussed on the Travel Plan page, Otago has a high percentage of walkers in both the student and staff communities, although car use among staff is still a significant sustainability challenge.
The percentages of people cycling, taking the bus and carpooling are much smaller in proportion, and the draft Travel Plan has set objectives for increasing uptake of these options, as does the Campus Master Plan.
Property Services is responsible for managing parking spaces on campus and the promotion of non-car options and regular communication with the City and Regional Councils over improvements to the bus service, cycle routes and the Campus Rideshare scheme.
Dunedin’s geographic isolation from the main population centres of New Zealand and the world means that a significant amount of air travel is required to support students and staff. The University has actively supported the growth of video conferencing and other internet based methods of communicating at a distance to reduce travel costs and associated greenhouse gas emissions associated with teaching, research and professional development.
Visit the video conferencing page of the Information Technology website for more information on services:
The Dunedin Bus Service
The Otago Regional Council operates a citywide bus service for Dunedin and the outer towns, with several routes passing around the perimeter of the main campus via Albany, Clyde and Dundas Streets.
Bus frequency averages at every 20 minutes during the day, with fewer buses in the evenings and weekends. Bus fares are based on a zoning system set according to distance from the central city, and start from $1.90 for a single Zone 1 trip. The GoBus smart card offers a discount on fares for card holders.
The bus service is a good sustainable option for students and staff who live further away from campus or during bad weather, and the University holds regular discussions with the Regional Council about making the service more affordable and user friendly.
For comprehensive information on the bus service, routes and timetables and the GoBus card, visit:
Carpooling or Ridesharing
For a number of years, the Dunedin City Council operated the Campus or Scarfie Rideshare scheme, which is open to students and staff of the University and Otago Polytechnic. Unfortunately, due to problems with administering the scheme and ensuring compliance with the rules, it was scrapped in March 2012.
To replace the old Rideshare Scheme, the Council, together with the tertiary sector and the ridematching website service Jayride, has recently made available dedicated Universty of Otago and Otago Polytechnic ridematching pages on the Jayride website. These pages allow staff and students to find others in their areas to share a ride to campus.
This service is free and simple to use, will help you to meet new people in your neighbourhood and travel together to work, saving you money, reducing your carbon emissions and giving you a more enjoyable commute.
If you're interested in carpooling, visit:
Cycling to Campus
Cycling through the central campus is currently not permitted for safety reasons, but the University provides a number of cycle parks, including lockable cages, around the campus perimeter and in the basement areas of several buildings.
Cyclists can apply to Property Services for a free permit to use one of the lockable cages.
There are dedicated cycle lanes on State Highway One, and a number of unmarked, popular, safe routes through North Dunedin.
The University holds regular discussions with the City Council over the inclusion of more marked cycle lanes around the campus, and Property Services is dedicated to increasing cycle use through the introduction of more facilities, including designated through routes on the campus perimeter and lockable, covered cycle racks. A formal Cycling and Skateboarding Policy is currently being worked upon and it is hoped it will be completed by the end of 2012.
For comprehensive information on cycle routes and parking in Dunedin, visit:
To apply for a lockable cycle cage to store your bike, visit:
Walking to Campus
The vast majority of students and a number of staff walk to campus every day, a situation which the University wishes to encourage as it reduces pressure on parking facilities, decreases congestion, and limits greenhouse gas emissions.
There are a number of popular routes between the campus and the city centre and student residential areas, and the campus is sufficiently compact that people can move between buildings and facilities without needing transport.
The Campus Master Plan suggests a number of initiatives to further improve the ‘walkability’ of the campus which Property Services staff are currently investigating.
For information on walking in Dunedin and the best routes for walking to and from campus, visit:
Parking on Campus
On-site car parks are available to lease through Property Services and are very popular with drivers who do not wish to park on the street. The University would ideally like to discourage the use of vehicles by solo drivers, but recognises that other transport options may not be suitable for some.
The draft Travel Plan identifies a number of objectives for reducing solo drivers and managing campus parking so expansion of car parks will not be required in the future.
A Park and Ride service operates at the Forsyth Barr Stadium, where staff can park for free and use a regular shuttle to reach campus. The purpose of the Park and Ride scheme is to reduce congestion around campus and, currently 200 free spaces are available for lease from Property Services.
The University encourages staff and students to share rides where possible and a carpooling service is currently being considered to replace the defunct DCC Campus Rideshare Scheme.
For information on parking including the Park and Ride scheme, visit: