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Free train shows lack of connections

Over 450 visitors enjoyed a free train trip to the Wairarapa yesterday as part of Metlink’s ‘Ride For Free Day’.

Visitors from Wellington board the bus to explore Wairarapa after getting off the train. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
Visitors from Wellington board the bus to explore Wairarapa after getting off the train. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

The initiative saw trips on all Metlink trains across the wider Wellington region free for everyone all day.

Visitors were then whisked away for the day to several Wairarapa destinations on free buses, funded by Destination Wairarapa and the Greater Wellington Regional Council.

But while the day was hailed a success, Destination Wairarapa general manager David Hancock said it highlighted the lack of shuttle connectivity between the railway stations and the region’s towns on any other Sunday.

“Currently there are no connecting shuttle services meeting Metlink Wellington-Wairarapa trains on a Sunday, which confuses people and hampers independent visitors wishing to visit the region by using this great train service.”

Adrienne Staples, Wairarapa representative on Greater Wellington, agreed, saying it highlighted the weekend tourism potential for Wairarapa – “if we have good public transport connections”.

Nine Tranzit buses met the train, which was at capacity, at Featherston, Woodside and Masterton train stations.

They took visitors to Martinborough, Greytown and into the centre of Masterton.

The Wairarapa A&P Society also paid for a bus to transfer passengers into the town and onto the Wairarapa A&P Show at the Clareville Showgrounds.


  1. My daughter planned to come home to Greytown for my birthday. She was turned away as some ‘family groups’ up to 7 were given priority! We had to drive to Upper Hutt to pick her up and another boy stranded who had to come back to work as a dairy farmer. How is it that regular passengers (my wife and I pay $735 per month) who pay thousands each year to use the Wairarapa train are treated like crap!
    Promotion failed the customers who make the line profitable.

    Score is 2 out of 10. GRRR angry Dad

  2. Having lived in Greytown some years ago, I did wish there had been some sort of public transport from the town to Woodside station both days of the weekend. I could have travelled to Wellington and back on a Sunday to meet friends or Enjoy a day in Wellington . Not having transport from and to the station at Greytown meant this was not possible. If tourists and residents of the Wairarapa are to be encouraged to make frequent use of rail services, to bring them to the townships, then connecting bus/shuttle services really need to be available to meet the need over the whole weekend -and at an affordable price.

  3. If the trains were say $2.50 on Sundays, or a discounted fare (not just for families) imagine the tourism potential.

  4. It wasn’t a success for me or other commuters who work in Wellington. They had to put on special bus’s to get us home as the train was at its limit. I was among hundreds on the platform who they turned away because the train was full. They need to add more services on the weekends.

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Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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