Wairarapa Service Gives Hamilton Clues
As question marks arise over the proposed Waikato to Auckland train service, the Wairarapa to Wellington train service gives us an insight into how satellite town train travel could be extended elsewhere.
More than 700 responses to a survey of Wairarapa train passengers and almost 400 submissions are being consdered as part of a review of Wairarapa public transport services and they provide some nuggets that give us some clues about what might work for Hamilton.
Wairarapa commuters want more frequent train services and a solution to having to stand for much of the journey.
90% say their main reason for taking the train to Wellington is for work. Would this be the same if there was a Hamilton to Auckland service?
Greater Wellington Regional Council contracts Tranz Metro to provide the service between Masterton and Wellington: This consists of
- Three peak-time services in each direction each week-day
- Two off-peak services in each direction on weekdays and at weekends
- A late night Friday service in each direction.
The trains carry about 690,000 passengers a year. Greater Wellington spends about $25m a year to subsidise train services in the Wellington region. Ratepayers contribute 40% of this and the New Zealand Transport Agency contributes the balance. Wairarapa ratepayers contribute about $345,000 a year to subsidise the Wairarapa trains
A one way Masterton to Wellington ticket is $17 adult $8.50 child. A 10-trip is $130 for an adult, monthly $390.
The 6.48am departure from Masterton gets you to Wellington at 8.29am.
Peter Glensor, Chair of Greater Wellington’s Economic Wellbeing Committee, says key concerns about Wairarapa train services included a need for more capacity on some peak hour services, a desire for more off peak services during the week and at the weekends and more convenient peak hour evening departure times.
“Since the new Wairarapa trains were introduced in 2007, passenger numbers have been increasing steadily so there are now not enough seats on some services.
“We do have a possible solution to this, which would involve converting some carriages that are currently being used on the Hutt Valley line for use on the Wairarapa line when we get enough of the new Matangi trains into service. However the carriages would need to have toilets installed and some other work, for which funding is not currently available.
“A small surcharge on Wairarapa fares to fund these costs is one possibility that is being considered.
“The review is also investigating an off-peak and weekend shuttle train service between Masterton and Upper Hutt which would link with the electric trains at Upper Hutt. While this sounds simple enough it’s actually not because the Wairarapa trains cannot turn around at Upper Hutt, so a locomotive may be needed at each end of the train.”
What they want is shown below:
Some of the insights from the survey:
- 85% of Wairarapa people using the train are going to Wellington with 5% to Upper Hutt, 6% to Waterloo and 4% to petone
- 21% – described as a significant number – of passengers travelling to Masterton or Carterton are boarding in the Hutt Valley
- The main boarding point for the morning trains is Featherston (33%), masterton (28%), Carterton (25%) and Woodside (12%)
- 68% of Wairarapa passengers drive to the station, 11% of those getting fropped off there.
- 81% take the train at least 4 days a week
- A third would pay higher fares for service improvements -10% would pay an extra dollar, 17% $2,
And preferred times of travel is relevant in view of the Hamilton proposal:
Cr Glensor said feedback on Wairarapa bus services was mainly about the need for better connections between some of the bus services and better connections between buses and trains. “In particular, many people have asked for better connections between Greytown and Woodside Station.
A fourth town route in Masterton, covering the north eastern area, is also being investigated.
“Our consultant is working closely with the KiwiRail and Tranzit Coachlines, the bus operator, on some options and solutions to the issues that have been raised. Any changes will be subject to available funding and this may mean the cutting of some poorly used services to pay for services which more people want.”