Starting mid July
By Bruce Taylor, freelance rail transport writer
The Greater Wellington Regional Council’s (GWRC) public transport arm MetLink has announced a new train timetable.
Incorporating a 20 minute off-peak frequency, it will be implemented on the Hutt Valley and Kapiti lines from Sunday 15 July 2018 to coincide with the start of most of the new bus timetables.
For Kapiti residents the new timetable means that from around 8.00 am through to 3.00 pm on week days there will be a train to Wellington every 20 minutes.
There will be a corresponding increase in departure options in this off peak period from Wellington back to Kapiti. Connections for Kapiti Line users with other lines at Wellington Railway Station have also improved.
Some other adjustments
There are some adjustments to peak period rail services including an additional commuter train from Waikanae to Wellington departing 6.48 am on week days.
This new service is not shown in the new Kapiti Line timetable now available to down load from the Metlink website.
In the evenings on week days trains will now be every 30 minutes from Wellington to Waikanae until 11.14 pm.
At the same time, fares will increase by 3% across the whole public transport network. This is the first increase in fares for five years.
Metlink say that there will be new discount fares for students, people with disabilities and adults travelling off-peak.
First significant timetable change for seven years
The last major timetable change on the Wellington Metro rail network was in February 2011 when electric train services from Waikanae were inaugurated.
The additional trains reflect a big increase in train usage across the region. The average growth of total passenger numbers has been 3.6% over the last five years.
The rail team at Metlink say they want to encourage “turn up and go” passenger behaviour by providing frequent trains. At the same time, they want to develop “a higher performing rail service which generates more customer demand and less reliance on private vehicle travel.”
The new rail timetable should offer a much better public transport service on week days for residents of, and visitors to the greater Wellington region.
(Full details of the changes to rail and bus timetables and fares are available on the Metlink website www.metlink.org.nz)