Disruption guide

This page is a generic guide of helpful resources during a disruption. For specific information about current disruptions, see Service Alerts(external link).

More information

Disruptions often are caused by things outside of our control, such as freight train breakdowns, severe weather and emergency situations.

NZTA Twitter feed(external link) MetService warnings(external link) WREMO Twitter feed(external link)

What to expect during a disruption

When disruptions happen on the bus network, we may need to close or move some bus stops and detour buses around the area affected. This can cause delays and cancellations to services. Buses can get stuck in heavy traffic, resulting in significant delays and cancellations.

When there is a major disruption on the network, train services may run with reduced seating (fewer cars), be cancelled, or be replaced by buses. It takes time to get services running again, due to investigation time and operational complexities. We do our best to source alternative or replacement services when possible. We understand this can be extremely inconvenient to passengers, and we thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation. 

Service changes and finding options

If your service is disrupted, other services may be able to get you where you're going. Use the journey planner to see other suggested routes. Please note, some disrupted services may still show in journey planner results, since it can take time for the system to update with cancellations.

Please note, if a reduced or alternative timetable is put in place to manage a disruption (for example, a Saturday timetable running during a weekday), timetables on the website and app and real-time departure screens will not reflect these changes. Updating timetables usually takes several days of complex processes to sync the different systems that run the network. Updates and changes to services will be noted in Service alerts(external link).

Service alerts(external link)

Buses replacing trains stop locations

Buses replacing trains stop locations can also be found on train station real time departure pages by clicking "Stop information".

Hutt Valley & Melling Line Kāpiti Line Johnsonville Line Wairarapa Line

If travelling with a bike or pram during a disruption

If capacity allows, bicycles may be carried on a cycle rack if the bus is fitted with one, otherwise only folding cycles may be carried. All folded prams can be carried on board the bus replacement services when stored in the luggage areas, non-foldable prams may not be able to be carried on all bus replacements, please talk to on-board staff when boarding.

Using buses replacing trains

If you need other assistance

Staff on-site or on-board are your best first contact. If you need other assistance or cannot find a Metlink staff person, the Metlink Service Centre may be able to help. Opening hours apply.

Contact the Metlink Service Centre

Causes of delays & disruptions

Many factors outside of Metlink's control can impact services. Buses can get caught in traffic, as they share the same streets as other vehicles. Roadworks and events may also require buses to detour from their usual route. Harbour Ferries are most often impacted by weather, as they are not able to operate in large swells or high winds.

Trains, although not affected by vehicle traffic, can be impacted by many things, such as mechanical problems, freight train traffic, speed restrictions due to high temperatures, and even slippery leaves on the tracks, which can cause significant disruption to train services. Causes of these issues can take time to identify and resolve. Safety of passengers is our first priority. Any mechanical or safety issues or emergencies will be fully investigated and resolved before train services can resume. 

Disruptions impact on trains, rosters and staff, and there can be significant flow-on effects of unscheduled changes and delays to later services or passengers further down the line. Trains and staff may be left in the wrong locations or lines may be blocked. Trains may be full or near full, meaning they cannot collect any more passengers due to load restrictions. When we replace trains with buses, buses may get stuck in traffic.

Disruptions on the Wairarapa Line

Some unique elements on this line create additional issues when services are disrupted. Safety restrictions for tunnels, limitations of signalling systems north of Featherston, and a significant amount of work required to improve the line means that buses often replace Wairarapa Line services and unplanned disruptions can take much longer to resolve.

Last published: Saturday, January 28, 2023 at 8:36 AM