School buses provide the most comprehensive network of rural transport in Otago (and the rest of New Zealand). They go to every small village and up almost every valley, delivering people to every medium sized town and home again in the afternoon.
This could form the basis of a rural transport network for all rural people. Can grownups and other non students use school buses? The answer is "yes, but..."
Here are the relevant rules:
Ineligible Students 15 With effect from January 2015 the Contractor must obtain the prior written agreement of any school affected by the operation of a Daily Route if the Contractor wishes to transport any Ineligible Student on that Route. 16 Notwithstanding clause 15, the Contractor must not transport any Ineligible Student on any Technology Route. 17 Subject to clause 15, the Contractor may only transport Ineligible Students if: 17.1 the transport will only be provided if there is excess seating capacity after all eligible Students have been catered for; and 17.2 the Ineligible Students pays an appropriate fare, as set by the Contractor; 17.3 transportation of any Ineligible Student does not delay the provision of the Services. 18 The Contractor shall use best endeavours to ensure that Ineligible Students do not: 18.1 harass or bully Students; 18.2 behave in a socially unacceptable manner; 19 Subject to clause 17, the Contractor must not deviate from a designated Daily Route to pick up any Ineligible Students for transportation without the prior written approval from the Service Agent. 20 Prior to transporting any Ineligible Student, the Contractor must advise all Ineligible Students in writing of the conditions of transportation set out in clauses 15- 19, and to retain a record of that advice.”
So the guts of it is, Yes, but they must have the written permission of the school the bus is mainly for and they must agree in writing to follow this list of rules (not so insurmountable as it could be done on a website with the usual "click here to accept" box).
Just waiting to hear back to confirm that "ineligible student" simply means "any person who is not an eligible student" that is, a person of any age.