Would You Pay $90 Hamilton Return?


How does $90 return sound for an Auckland to Hamilton return by train? Or is it cheaper to drive?

Tranz Scenic will be runing three Auckland to Hamilton train services during the Rugby World Cup.

None of the services go from Britomart so match-goers will have to get to the designated station via the usual Auckland suburban network.

Driving to Hamilton or taking the train?

In view of the plans for a Hamilton to Auckland commuter rail service, the prices are of interest.

The matches are:

Friday September 16 All Blacks versus  Japan
Sunday  September 18 Wales v Samoa 
Sunday  October 2 Wales v Fiji

And the train-only same-day return prices depend on where in Auckland you leave from. Plus whatever it takes for you to get to the particular Auckland station.

The Strand is being rebuilt for an RWC stop

From Ellerslie, Newmarket, the Strand (the rejuvenated old platform), Glen Innes, Middlemore, Manurewa to Hamilton return $90 return  ($59 child)

Papakura to Hamilton $80 return ($55 child)

Pukekohe to Hamilton $75 return ($49 child)

Huntly to Hamilton $60  return ($39 child)

The working party group examining a Waikato-Auckland rail service has decided on a Silver Fern railcar service from Hamilton to Auckland’s Strand for getting Hamilton-Auckland commuter rail up and running.

A Hamilton to Auckland commuter rail service could begin operation in the 2012/13 financial year.

But the funding issue - and how much passengers would  be charged- remains in the air.

The service will have to be fully funded by the Waikato local bodies as the NZTA has indicated that it will not subsidise this service. In other words Waikato people will have to pay for it through their rates. The Long Term Plan process for the Waikato councils will gauge public support for a rates increase to subsidise the operation of such a service.





  1. Pim says:

    Unbelievable. And then the NZTA are going to say “look, not enough passengers, looks like we should build more motorways.” Amazing how they can get away with this.

  2. Luke Elliott says:

    As someone who regularly drives from Hamilton to Auckland, I’d say in terms of petrol, you’d be cheaper to drive. Depending on the time of day you left (and how may other people were driving) quite possibly it’d be faster, too, as the journey takes little more than an hour and a half.

    However, if I were deciding what to do on match day, I’d take the train, for the convenience of it. Waikato Stadium has next to no parking, and Hamilton itself isn’t that great in terms of it. I imagine the train will go to Frankton station, which is a bit of a walk, but hopefully they’ll be running buses, which would definitely make it worthwhile. Plus with the train, you can have a few drinks at the game and not need to worry about it.

    Really though, who is this service targetted at? Aucklanders who want to see these games? I’m going out on a limb and saying probably not; these are all pool games, and only one features the All Blacks. They tend to walk over Japan, so it wouldn’t really be a match worth going to the stadium rather than staying at home for.

    I’d say these services are more targetted at (overseas) tourists who want to see the games, and need a way to get to Hamilton; this service is definitely better than a rental car. Coming from overseas, they’re probably used to the idea of trains taking them where they need to go. Possibly, the prices are slightly higher than they would otherwise be, as everyone seems to be trying to make as much money as they can off the tourists, don’t they?

    (And $60 from Huntly to Hamilton return? Was someone high when they came up with that? I’d be surprised if anyone opts for that. It’s a 15 minute drive, and the public transport bus service does it for $8 return with a bus card)

  3. Matt says:

    Having just this weekend done Auckland-Hamilton return (Ellerslie to Glenview, and return via Britomart to drop a Shore-ite passenger off for her bus) on about 20L of petrol, that’s absolute extortion. Even for one person our trip had a per-person cost of about half that $90, so maybe $60 if we take a very, very pessimistic view of the running costs of an eight-year-old car. Divide by 2.5 (third person was return trip only) and that’s $24 per person.

    That the service is not departing from Britomart just adds insult to injury.

  4. Carl says:

    awesome, this will fail and they we’ll get the “oh see we told you it didn’t work”

    again who comes up with this bs when it comes to pricing?

    We all don’t earn $200k a year, $90 or even $40 for that matter is a joke.

    how about make it $25 pp to get people on there and.

    they could test that theory when Waikato play Counties at Pukekohe in a few weeks for the ITM CUP game.

    A great test run.

    Put a train on and sell a ticket for $50 return (which would include ground entry)

    see how many people use it as a tester, test Pukekohe Station at the same time.

    $90, whoever thought of this price, show your face and explain how you worked out!

  5. Carl says:

    oh and btw, what is there marketing plan? there is nothing scenic to look at between Hamilton and Auckland, its a bunch of farm land views all the way to roughly Drury and then Suburban buildings from Papakura to Auckland.

    $90 what a joke

  6. Matt says:

    Luke, unless you’re on your own, there’s no way this is a better deal than a rental unless nobody in your group is capable of staying off the sauce. Hell, even for one person a single-day rental plus the petrol isn’t going to hit you for $90.

    These fares are pure extortion.

  7. Giel says:

    It seems that KR is screwing the poor old Rail passenger market while giving away freight rates at well below economic cost. This is what the Railfreight lobbyists like Fonterra, Solid Energy and Mainfreight have been successful at getting support from the Government on. No news there.

    KR doesn’t “appear to care” about Scenic Rail (there are no long distance rail lobbyist really for them to pander to like there is in the freight market). They care about infrastructure and rolling stock to meet the lobbyist demands for below economic freight rates on the freight Railway. This isn’t necessarily bad for the Rail Network in the short run - it keeps it going when it might otherwise have closed. But is certainly isn’t sustainable long term. Hence the so called “Turnaround Plan”.

    Remember the rates for these trains are only because it’s the World Cup and that is seen as a chance to make some quick money at the margin – not that three return trains will make them much. Any rate for regular trains would be much lower eg the current Overlander fare is about $31 Super Saver to Hamilton one way. If they were being smart they would showcase Scenic Rail in NZ whilst the World Cup was on - limited evidence of that so far except that the new Scenic series cars are due to be launched in September about the time the World Cup starts. So they may yet surprise us all. Let’s hope so.

  8. Anthony says:

    That is just outrageous, I paid $75 return on the Tranz Alpine from Christchurch to Greymouth. And that is a world class scenic route!

    Yet they want to make people pay $90 which doesn’t even go to the main station???

  9. geoff_184 says:

    @Giel - what “below economic freight rates” are you talking about? Those large industries get cheaper rates because that is viable for large contracts. Rail freight rates are not fixed like for road transport, they are tiered. The higher the tonnage level, the lower the rates. That’s how railways operate the world over. It’s not “below economic freight rates” for rail, but it is cheaper than road freight rates. That’s one of the reasons why truckies can’t compete with rail on bulk.

  10. James F says:

    One wishes this was a joke. Sadly, it appears that it isn’t.

  11. George D says:

    We should be celebrating an extra rail service, but as usual poor execution pulls the whole thing down…

  12. Donald Neal says:

    The normal full (“flexi”) Auckland-Hamilton fare is $54, which has presumably influenced the choice of fare level on this occasion.

    This isn’t a one-off issue.

  13. Giel says:

    Geoff Off topic but LOL! Viable for larger contracts - is that why KR is needing $250M free capital a year? Hardly any KR’s freight rates cover fully allocated operating costs and none cover fully allocated long run capital costs. That is why they are currently getting $250 Million free capital a year plus no capital charge on the many Billions$’s tied up in assets. Tell me one rail freight customer that is covering it’s average long run fully allocated costs including capital

  14. Giel says:

    Geoff the following may help with your understanding of rail economics in this country. Others may find it interesting also. Ross Clarks analysis is especially insightful.




  15. Brendan says:

    Disappointing! If this doesn’t succeed, then Hamilton will have even more troubles introducing a regular rail service.

    I live in Victoria, Australia, in a town about the size of Te Awamutu, it’s 2.5hrs hours on the train to Melbourne, and it costs $14 each way departing every 45 minutes, seven days a week. And the trains travel up to 160km/hr.

    Its frustrating to see a city the size of Hamilton struggle to get a regular rail service. Get it sorted New Zealand.

  16. kel says:

    Oh, are they kidding????? $90???? There shouldn’t even be a debate over whether it’s cheaper to take the train or drive!!!! It should be $20 by train!!

  17. Carl says:

    the distance between puke to the strand is about the same as it is to hamilton, so basically its $15 to Puke on this service, then $75 to hamilton?

    Sorry KR but your kidding yourselves a car load of people wouldn’t even have to $50 for gas for that trip.

  18. Dave says:

    And… They’ve wrecked it…

    I’m planning on taking the kids up to the CBD for the opening - had this been $20 each, I’d be there… but $90… Just the $90 alone covers the gas and parking - before I pay for the kids on top…

    Sorry - but F - Fail on a grand degree.

  19. Scott says:

    “Would You Pay $90 Hamilton Return?” Yes. Just did.


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