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