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Snapper to come … and go

After an investment of millions, the highly anticipated Snapper will roll out on the Wairarapa in just over a week, but the payment card itself will be short-lived.
Snapper cards, electronic payment cards for public transport across the Wellington region, will be up and running in Wairarapa from November 27.
However, they will last just over three years before being replaced by the National Ticketing System [NTS] predicted to roll out in 2026.
The total cost of Snapper on rail was $18 million, including $10m for ongoing operating costs. About half of the set-up cost was for infrastructure and civil works that would not be reused for the NTS.
Transport Minister Michael Wood said Snapper on rail was an important step toward the NTS.
“By expanding Snapper from buses to trains, Metlink, with the support of Waka Kotahi, is preparing Wellington rail users for the NTS, which will further expand electronic payment options to contactless debit and credit cards, digital methods as well as a pre-paid transit card.
“Making fares easier and more convenient to pay will encourage more people to use public transport, reducing traffic congestion and carbon emissions.
Greater Wellington Regional Council deputy chair Adrienne Staples said the regional council was pleased to give Metlink customers an interim electronic payment option.
“Our passengers have long called for smart ticketing on trains.
“Snapper has been on our buses since 2008, so many Wellingtonians already have snapper cards.
“We’re confident the convenience of snapper on rail will increase patronage towards our mode shift target. Greater Wellington is aiming for a 40 per cent rise in public transport use and active travel modes, like cycling, by 2030.”
The first pilot of the NTS will begin in Canterbury in 2024 and will roll out in the rest of New Zealand in 2026.
Paper ticket sales will cease at stations from December 31. However, travellers without a Snapper card will still be able to buy tickets onboard using cash.

George Shiers
George Shiers
George Shiers is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age interested in politics and social issues. He reports regularly on a range of topics including infrastructure, housing, and transport. George is also the Tararua reporter and helps cover police, fire and court stories.

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