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Posted on 20/12/2010 8:00am
Welcome to the December issue of Metlink News. Read about all the changes coming in early next year: new trains, a new real time information system, a new service to Waikanae and new timetables. We wish all Metlink customers a very happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year.
You can also view the web-friendly PDF: Metlink News Issue 15
In this issue:
Metlink buses, trains and harbour ferries will run to special timetables over the Christmas/New Year period. Special timetables will start on Christmas Day. GO Wellington and Newlands Coach Services will return to their regular timetables from Wednesday 5 January 2011. All other bus services and harbour ferries will be back to normal from Saturday 8 January. Train services will return to regular timetables from Sunday 9 January, but some services will continue to be replaced by buses occasionally.
Operating hours for the Metlink information line over Christmas and New Year are as follows: Christmas Eve, 7am – 8pm, Christmas Day – closed; Sunday 26 December 2010 to Tuesday 4 January 2011, calls will be answered between 8am – 8pm. Normal operating hours will resume from Wednesday 5 January. You can also use txtBUS, txtTRAIN or our website www.metlink.org.nz for timetable information.
With the introduction of the new Matangi trains and the extension of regular commuter services to Waikanae, all timetables for trains – and connecting bus services – are changing. The new timetables take effect from Sunday 20 February 2011 and they’ll be available from the end of January. You can pick up a copy from your local Metlink stockist, or download one from the Metlink website. Metlink staff will also be handing out timetables and answering your questions at key stations during February.
From Sunday 20 February, train services will run regularly to Waikanae instead of ending at Paraparaumu. Gone will be the days of just one train every weekday from Waikanae – trains will run throughout the day, every day.
As well as the extension of the electrified train line to Waikanae, the line between McKays Crossing, north of Paekakariki, and Waikanae has been double tracked. This will help make train services more reliable and enable more peak hour services in the future. Paraparaumu Station has a new station building with waiting room, ticket office and toilets. A longer subway replaces the overbridge which was not suitable for disabled passengers.
At Waikanae, there’s a new station building with toilets and a waiting room featuring a display of the station’s history. The station also has a new, longer platform
and a new carpark.
The major improvements to the Kapiti rail network will be launched formally at a community celebration at Waikanae Station on Saturday 19 February. More details will be available on the Metlink website early next year.
Some passengers on the Hutt Valley Line will get their first taste of travel on a Matangi soon. The new trains will run initially at off-peak times between Wellington and Upper Hutt.
Three of the brand new trains are here now, with the next one due on Christmas Day! From next year about three a month, on average, will arrive until all 48 are in Wellington. The sleek, stainless steel trains will run on the Johnsonville Line from May next year and on the Kapiti Line from July. The new trains have many modern features that are different from the existing fleet. One of the most important is the manually controlled doors. If you are the only person wanting to get on or off a car, you need to press the green button for the doors to open. Every second car of the new trains has a set of bright green doors, showing you where the low-floor section of the train is. The low-floor area is designed especially for passengers in wheelchairs and those with buggies and pushchairs. There’s no step inside the train to this area, so it’s easier for less able-bodied people to get on and off.
Other features of the Matangi trains include air-conditioning, electronic information display screens, high quality public address systems, hearing loops and open access between both cars of a two-car unit.
If you travel on GO Wellington buses you’ll soon be able to know when your bus will actually arrive, not when it’s scheduled to arrive. Real time information should be available from March 2011 via the Metlink website, txtBUS and electronic display screens at some of the major bus stops around Wellington.
Next in line for Real Time Information will be Valley Flyer buses, followed by Newlands and Mana Coach Services, then trains.
Now that summer is on our doorstep, it’s a perfect time to explore Greater Wellington’s stunning regional parks.
Why not give your car a wee summer holiday and take a bus, train or harbour ferry to a park instead? To find out how to get to a regional park by public transport, visit www.gw.govt.nz/parks, click on an individual park and then click on “how to get there”.
A new Aotea bus route, more weekend services, better train and hospital bus connections, and later evening services for Titahi Bay and Whitby are some of the improvements to Porirua bus services, which will take effect from February 2011. You’ll also soon be able to take just one bus from Porirua East to Titahi Bay, and there’ll be more bus services running through Porirua CBD. The changes will come into place on Sunday 20 February 2011 – the same day that all the new timetables take effect.
Along with the bus changes, Porirua Station and bus interchange will be safer and brighter very soon. As Metlink News went to press, improvements were about to begin. New lights are being installed in the subway to showcase almost 60 new panels of specially designed artwork, and other subway walls and surfaces will be cleaned thoroughly to prepare for several new murals that have been designed and produced by Trev Mason’s team of artists at Porirua City Council.
The station’s platforms will be re-surfaced and tactile studs will be installed along the entire length of the platform. Some new signs are already in place on the station and more will be installed. Ducting will be put in place for the introduction, in future, of Greater Wellington Regional Council’s real time passenger information systems.
Renovations to the bus interchange at the station include improvements to the footpath, painting of the bus shelter and more lighting, seating and information signs, to make the interchange brighter, more secure and more user-friendly.
The new bus route along Wellington city’s Golden Mile is now in place. Buses run in both directions via Lambton Quay, Willis Street, Manners Street and Courtenay Place, creating a more direct public transport route through Wellington city. Soon there will be peak hour bus-only lanes all the way from Lambton bus interchange through to Taranaki Street, which should improve travelling times for bus commuters.
If you’re in a wheelchair, use a walking frame, or have a child in a buggy then catching a bus in Porirua will soon be easier with the installation of new concrete pads at about 30 bus stops in the city. In most cases the pads replace grass, making it easier to move wheelchairs, walking frames and buggies. Some of the kerb surrounding the pad is removed, creating a driveway effect, which also makes it easier for people in wheelchairs and those with walking frames and buggies to get on to the bus stop. Eleven pads have been installed and about 20 more will be put in place at other Porirua bus stops in the new year.
Look out for new-look Ganz Mavag
A spruced up Ganz Mavag unit, with some similar features to the brand new Matangi trains, is set to start taking passengers early next year. The unit, one of the 30-year old fleet that run on the Hutt Valley and Kapiti Lines, has been entirely refurbished and given another 10 years’ lease of life. The unit now has, like the Matangi trains, passenger-operated doors, a high quality public address system, passenger information display systems on the inside and outside and CCTV. Passengers will enjoy new seats, new floor coverings and no ‘cold train’ syndrome, a problem that has arisen with the Ganz Mavags due to component failures. A range of engineering and mechanical improvements have been made to the train to improve reliability. The refurbishment is a prototype which will be assessed by Greater Wellington, and help the council decide early next year whether to refurbish the rest of the fleet.
Plan your car-free journey online
You can sort out your summery walking or cycling journey with the click of a mouse.
Go to www.journeyplanner.org.nz, key in your starting point and your destination. Then plan your journey, print it off and you’ll have your very own tailor-made map and step by step directions. The journey planner shows you where water fountains, toilets and resting places are, how hilly your trip will be and where bus stops and train stations are. If you want to shed a few kilos over summer, the journey planner can also tell you how many calories you’re likely to burn on your walking or cycling trip.
Did you know?
Metlink has a Customer Services Systems and Information team, which is made up of four people, who are responsible for all Metlink information about timetables, changes to bus and train routes, new services and service disruptions. This team manages the Metlink website and Metlink’s Twitter service. All changes to timetables, whether they are minor – such as tweaks to one or two services on a particular route, or major – such as all the new rail and connecting bus timetables that will happen next February – are coordinated by this team who produce timetables for all Metlink bus, train and harbour ferry services. The team also produces the comprehensive range of Metlink brochures and posters.