Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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Free train should be monthly

By Seamus Boyer

[email protected]

What a shame we don’t get 450 people catching the train up to Wairarapa from Wellington and the Hutt Valley every Sunday.

Yesterday that many visitors enjoyed a free train trip to the Wairarapa 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.

The day is becoming something of a tradition in Wellington, but yesterday it was extended to include Wairarapa trains.

It’s a great way of getting people over here, especially as a return trip costs $19 for a child and a whopping $36 for adults.

Take a family and that soon becomes a real wallet-burner.

Once in Wairarapa yesterday, 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.

Some of those people will have been coming to the region for the first time.

They would have got a glimpse of what we have to offer, enjoying a leisurely walk around Martinborough or Greytown, or experiencing the colour of the A&P show.

Plus they’re not bringing their cars, and therefore don’t block the hill road with their Sunday driving.

No doubt many will have gone home and raved about what they saw – despite the dodgy weather.

They may well plan a second trip over the hill for the coming months.

Would it not be worthwhile putting on a free train once a month, especially in summer, to make sure we really tap into that Wellington tourist market?

Surely if the councils chipped in, along with businesses, it would be well worthwhile.

At the same Wairarapa people would benefit from a free trip into Wellington to have a look around.

Sounds like a win-win.

All that needs then to be organised is better access to buses on a Sunday to ship everyone around to the region’s towns.

If we can do that, Sunday fun day in Wairarapa could become a reality for many on the other side of the Rimutaka Hill.

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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