Wellington Scoop

Tranz Metro admits it’s short of trains; plans changes to deal with overcrowding

Media release from the Greater Wellington Regional Council
Greater Wellington Regional Council and KiwiRail are announcing temporary changes to Wellington train operations to address issues with crowded peak time trains and resulting problems with fare collection. The changes, which come into effect next week, are expected to last eight weeks.

This will include checking tickets on station platforms, removing Wairarapa train surcharges for Upper Hutt Station passengers and using bus replacements during the morning peak on the Melling Line to free up extra carriages for the busiest trains.

Wayne Hastie, General Manager of Greater Wellington’s Public Transport Group, says the measures will be in place only until there are enough new trains in service to ease the crowding. “The excessive crowding makes the journey uncomfortable for everyone. It’s also preventing train staff from collecting fares. This means that Greater Wellington is losing a considerable amount of revenue, which we just cannot sustain.

“This unsatisfactory situation will improve when several Matangi trains are running at peak hour. The first four-car Matangi took passengers at peak time today so progress is being made.”

Wayne Hastie says he expects some passengers on the Melling Line will be unhappy about the morning bus replacements but this short-term inconvenience is for the greater commuter good. “The trains that buses replace on the Melling Line will ease overcrowding on the busier lines,” he says.

Deborah Hume, KiwiRail’s General Manager Rail Passenger, says “We have been working closely with Greater Wellington Regional Council in developing initiatives to ease the crowding on some peak time trains, and support our on board staff with fare collection that is fair to everyone.”

From Monday, passengers at Upper Hutt boarding a Wellington bound Wairarapa morning peak service will not be asked to pay the usual $1 supplement. “This will ease crowding on Hutt Valley commuter services as passengers have more trains to choose from for the standard fare or monthly pass,” comments Deborah Hume.

At stations from Paremata south on the Kapiti Line from Tuesday, checking of tickets and single ticket sales for Wellington-bound trains will now take place on the station platform from 6am-9am. Similar measures are likely to be introduced on the Upper Hutt Line, from Waterloo south, in the near future.

“This will ease the difficulties our staff are facing moving through crowded trains to clip tickets. On the busiest trains we can’t get to everyone,” says Deborah Hume. “Passenger feedback indicates that customers would prefer everyone to pay their fair share.”

Deborah Hume also points out that checking and selling tickets on platforms may add a little extra time before the train can be boarded. “We are asking everyone catching a morning peak train at any station from Paremata into Wellington to get to the station a bit earlier and to have their ticket ready for checking.”

To make extra carriages available for the most crowded services on the Upper Hutt and Kapiti Lines, Tranz Metro is arranging bus replacements on the Melling Line between 6am and 9am. “It is our shortest line, with less stations and passengers than others, so buses can cope although I know our passengers would prefer a train,” says Deborah Hume. In recognition of the inconvenience and extra travel time, Melling line monthly passes for May will be offered at $100 instead of the regular $110.40.

“I realise this is a big change for some of our customers,” Deborah Hume says. “Once we have enough trains in Tranz Metro service we will change back to normal.”

More about Wellington’s public transport:
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  1. Gary, 4. April 2011, 19:58

    “This is a big change for some of our customers”???! Get real! Some people will simply take advantage of your ineptitude. Collecting fares is hardly rocket science for a public transport company. But then, neither is investing in your own infrastructure and rolling stock to provide a reliable and pleasant service that passengers will pay for.

    Come along KiwiRail, get your act together. Efficient public transport is important for the capital’s economy as well as the wellbeing of commuters. Are we being unreasonable in expecting a good quality, competently managed service?

  2. Manny, 6. April 2011, 12:49

    Having been on one of these overcrowded trains lately, I ask just one question. Why are the conductors/ticket checkers unable to check when in the past the express to Wellington has had to do all stations from Porirua for whatever reason, they had no problem pushing their way past ALL the passengers and checking tickets? All done before the train docked at Wellington too.