Plan for 3% increase in bus and train fares, with student and offpeak discounts

The Wellington Regional Council is planning a 3 per cent increase in bus and train fares. The proposal will be considered by councillors at a meeting next Tuesday.

The fare increase is one of a number of changes that councillors are being asked to approve, including discounts for students and for offpeak travel. The complete list is:

General 3% fare increase
Free bus transfers
25% off-peak discount
25% discount for full-time tertiary students
25% discount for blind or disabled customers
50% discount for all school children
25% premium for all cash fares
Free bus connections to trains when using a rail monthly pass
Move Porirua zone boundary north
Align ferry fares with wider fare structure
Metlink Explorer day pass, replacing other day passes
Discontinue school term passes
Discontinue 30-day bus passes
Discontinue return rail event tickets
Allocate Ngauranga Station to zone 3

The council has calculated that about half of all passengers will face a fare increase – mainly adults using Snapper or 10-trip or monthly rail passes. A quarter of passengers will experience no change and another quarter will enjoy a fare decrease.

Councillors are being told that a 4 per cent increase in passenger trips is expected within months of all the changes taking effect. This will boost annual trip numbers by 1.5 million, from 38 million to 39.5 million. It expects the 25 per cent off-peak discount to account for two-thirds of that increase, or 1 million trips – and also to have the biggest cost ($3.1 million a year).

The combined cost of concessions and fare product changes will be around $7.5 million. The 3 per cent fare increase – the first since 2013 – is expected to recoup $2.5 million. The remaining costs will be funded from regional rates and a subsidy from the Transport Agency, to keep fare revenue within our 55-60 per cent target range for funding of public transport.

The amount of the funding shortfall and impact on “farebox recovery” also depends on changes in public transport costs. These changes and any other changes in fare revenue will be considered as part of the next long term plan and may require further increases in fares.

A draft introduction to a proposed consultation document says:

We’re looking to change some of our fares, as well as increase fares across the board. Before we do that, however, we want to hear what you have to say. But first some background to the changes we’re considering.
Public transport is in a period of transformation. The rail network already has a new operator and a new electric fleet. Soon the region will get new bus operators, a new bus fleet and a new network in Wellington city. Snapper will also become the smartcard for use on all buses in the region.
The new bus fleet, new network in Wellington city and extension to Snapper will happen from July 2018, and are a prelude to another significant change in the next few years: a single ticketing system for all travel on public transport in the region, whether by bus, train or ferry.
To make all this happen, we need to start simplifying the fares we offer (we’ve got several hundred at present) and we need to begin applying those we keep in a more consistent way.
We want to introduce a 25 percent off-peak discount for adult bus and rail customers. We also want to change the policy for concession fares to improve accessibility to public transport for blind and disabled customers and to provide more affordable travel options on public transport for tertiary students.

Consultation on the fare increase and the fare changes begins on August 14.



  1. Neil Douglas, 4. August 2017, 16:11

    Good news for students.
    But I see the Wairarapa folk are getting hit with the biggest absolute fare increases once again for a non improving (worsening?) rail service.
    Masterton – Wellington up a dollar from $18 to $19 a single trip (+5.6%). It’s getting pretty pricey. This increase will take some selling to the Wairarapa Regional Councillor.

  2. luke, 5. August 2017, 11:32

    they should hold snapper/10 trip at existing prices for a few years to move people away from cash payments.
    free transfers are long overdue.

  3. Keith, 6. August 2017, 12:30

    Since when was cash a non preferred payment method? Discrimination against using legal tender might me unlawful. Make the services more reliable and I might start to use them again.


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