Wellington Bus, Train Fares Up


Wellington’s public transport fares which went up last October are up again in November.

Many bus and train fares will increase from  November 1 to meet increasing public transport costs.

The increase was due to take effect from  September1  but was postponed because negotiations with some operators took longer than expected.

Wellington railway station's ticket place

NZ Bus has stated that the last increase - a double whammy as it was accompanied by the GST increase - has caused flat patronage growth for much of the time since.

Peter Glensor, Chair of Greater Wellington’s Economic Wellbeing Committee which oversees public transport, says the focus of this year’s fare increase is on multi-trip or stored value card (e.g. Snapper) fares. Approximately two thirds of all public transport trips are made with multi-trip tickets or cards. “These fares will increase generally by about five percent, which will give us an overall increase in revenue of about three percent. This will allow us to keep rates down.”

He said the Council decided a few years ago to try and increase different fares in different years to ensure the impact of fare increases was as fair as possible. “Last year, the fares for single cash trips and trips for more than 11 zones increased. Fares also increased to reflect the new GST rate. This year we’re increasing multi-trip fares.”

Collecting tickets on Wellington trains

Historic Johnsonville train fare anomalies will also be removed from 1 November. “This brings Johnsonville fares into line with all other standard three zone fares. It also reflects the investment that has been made in the line in recent years.”

Special stadium train fares will increase by $2 per round trip for adults and $1 for children.

Cr Glensor said the minimum fare on the Wairarapa train for journeys from Upper Hutt, Waterloo and Petone to Wellington has been removed permanently. “It was removed temporarily earlier this year when we were experiencing serious overcrowding problems on the Hutt Valley Line. Clearly the change was well received and does not seem to have caused any problems for Wairarapa passengers so the minimum fare will not be reinstated on these trips.” The .Wairarapa train minimum fare remains in place for all journeys from Wellington to the Hutt Valley.

He said fare increases were needed to meet ongoing and increasing costs of Wellington’s public transport network. “We know, and have had this reiterated to us earlier this year through submissions on the annual plan, that one of the things people in the Wellington region want most of all is a high quality, modern and convenient public transport network. As a Council we are absolutely committed to providing this but for a relatively small population such as Wellington’s the costs are huge. We try, through regular fare increases, to share these costs as fairly as possible.”

He said the fare increase was also in line with the Council’s farebox recovery policy which aims to ensure that about half of the costs of public transport are met through fares. Ratepayers and taxpayers pay for the other half.

For more information about the fare changes people can pick up a copy of the new Metlink Fares and Tickets brochure, available from Metlink stockists from Monday 17 October.




  1. greenwelly says:

    They had better start running Matangis on the J’ville line before they put the ticket prices up. The only major investment the punters have seen so far is shiny traction poles and a few lengthened platforms, to make them happy you need to get their rolling stock into the 21st century….

  2. Matt L says:

    The policy of changing different fares in different years is a bad idea because all that people will remember is that fees went up last year and are going up this year, they won’t remember that they weren’t affected by it so the council ends up getting more bad press over it.

    I think in gereral the GWRC is poorly managing how they run PT services in the region and are taking things for granted. It wouldn’t surprise me if patronage continues to flounder for a long time if things continue as are.

  3. Wasp says:

    While visiting Wellington in June last year I used the train to Porirua from Wellington off-peak and the fares then were noticeably more expensive compared to Auckland. It was a no brainer (and much better value) to use a car.

    I could see first hand why public transport patronage was dropping in Wellington.

    I’d hate to think what they are now.

  4. Kegan says:

    @ Wasp

    Cash fares are only going up for 9 or more zones, so it’s still the same for Porirua - Wellington (5 zones).

    “fares then were noticeably more expensive compared to Auckland”

    Comparing with Britomart - Papatoetoe which is a similar distance:

    Cash single $5.40
    Off peak cash -
    Ten Trip $48.50

    Cash single $6.00
    Off peak cash $4.50
    Ten Trip $45.00 (current) / $47.20 (new)

    “I could see first hand why public transport patronage was dropping in Wellington.”

    Unconvinced that its the fares, more to do with poor reliability due to a number of reasons (old knackered rolling stock and equipment, network upgrades leading to lots of bus replacements …)

    Anyway, rail patronage has started to go up again.

  5. Wasp says:

    Sorry, it was the one after Porirua, I think it is Paremata and the fare I was charged was over $7. It was not cheap by any standards and I think this would get me close to Papakura. And i was surprised at the cost given it was off peak.

  6. George D says:

    NZ public transport prices are some of the highest in the world, in both relative and real terms.


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