Is your child ready to travel alone?
Children aged 7-12 can travel unaccompanied on selected InterCity bus services, as long as the Unaccompanied Minor policy is followed. We take the safety of all our passengers very seriously, especially children. Before you book travel for your child, please think carefully about whether they are ready for solo bus travel. This checklist will help you decide whether you and your child are prepared for the journey.
1. Have you read our terms and conditions?
You can find our Unaccompanied Minors terms and conditions here. These are very important and you must follow them, or we cannot let your child travel. The most important part is to make sure you have filled out the Unaccompanied Minor form (either while you're booking online, or by filling it out and returning it to us before departure).
2. Is your child emotionally and cognitively ready?
Travelling by bus is a comfortable and convenient way to get around the country, but you need to be confident that your child will not become upset or anxious. We operate large buses with lots of passengers and our services stop in lots of towns and communities all around the country. Will your child find all of this overwhelming?
Our drivers make announcements throughout the journey that are important for trip information and passenger safety. Before booking, you need to be confident that your child is able to make good decisions independently and can listen and follow instructions.
3. Will your child get off at the right stop?
Our buses stop regularly throughout each service to pick up and drop off other passengers. You need to be sure that your child will know to get off at their booked stop.
When you book your child as an unaccompanied minor, our drivers will know to look out for them and will do their best to alert them when their stop is coming up. However, due to the busy nature of bus stops and the number of passengers travelling on our buses, our driver may not notice if too many or too few passengers disembark at a particular stop.
Please also remember that many of our services stop more than once within a metropolitan area. For example, a service to Auckland Central may also stop in Bombay, Papakura and Manukau.
You can look up our timetables to find out which stops are included on your child’s service. However, please remember that sometimes we may skip stops if we have no bookings there. Your child will need to listen and pay attention during the bus trip to make sure they get off at the right stop.
Take a look at our unaccompanied minor stop info page for more useful tips.
4. Can your child be unattended during rest stops?
Our services make regular rest stops for passenger comfort. These stops are also rest breaks for our drivers. During a driver's rest break, they are not legally permitted to work – this includes interacting with passengers. Therefore our drivers are not able to supervise your child during a rest break.
You need to be confident that your child can look after themselves during the rest break. This may include crossing busy roads, going to the toilet, buying food, and most importantly, getting back on the bus before the stated departure time.
It is your child’s responsibility to be back on the bus on time – we are unable to wait for passengers who are late in returning.
You can look up our timetables to find out which rest stops are included on your child’s service. However, please remember that the arrival and departure times are subject to change if we are running late. The driver will always make an announcement to tell passengers when they need to be back on the bus.
5. Do all the guardians know the travel details?
It’s very important that there is a parent or guardian waiting to meet your child when the bus arrives. You need to be confident that everyone knows the service number, arrival time and the location of the bus stop
Bus stops are busy places and our drivers have a lot of work to do unloading and checking in passengers. They may not notice that a guardian has not arrived to pick up your child.
As we are unable to delay our services, if the driver is aware that an unaccompanied minor has not been collected, they will notify our operations team who will call the police to come and collect your child.
6. Is the booking for a permitted journey?
For safety reasons we do not allow unaccompanied minors to travel on certain services. This includes our overnight services, any journey that involves a connecting service (ie having to change buses) or tour services. You can read a full list of these services on our Unaccompanied Minors page.
We hope this information is helpful in preparing you and your child for their solo bus trip. We also have a handy info sheet that you can download and print to read together with your child. It even has some fun activities on the back to keep them occupied on the bus!
If you have any queries about travelling with us, feel free to get in touch with our team. We're here to help!