Tickets and fares

Metlink fares

Standard fares are based on geographic fare zones and are calculated based on the number of zones you travel through (including the zone where you start and end your journey). A journey may include several trips on different vehicles. Some combinations of trips are eligible for free transfers, and some are not.

Concessions and discounts apply on some payment types and times of the day, but generally not on cash faresChildren under 5 always ride free.

Regular Metlink buses and trains don't have EFTPOS on board, and there are no ticket vending machines on train platforms. Only Wellington Station has an ATM in the main concourse.

A variety of passes are available when using Snapper. All fares and passes have their own terms and conditions, and Conditions of Carriage apply for all Metlink services.

All Metlink fares will be half price from 1 April 2022 to 31 January 2023.


Snapper retailers and kiosks are available throughout the Wellington region, and the Snapper app(external link) is available for both iOS and Android. For more information about tagging on, topping up, buying passes, loading a concession to your Snapper or for refund information, see our Using Snapper page, or the Snapper website(external link).

Using Snapper

Tag on and tag off for each trip

You need to tag on and tag off for each trip (each leg of your journey) so that fares and transfers can be calculated correctly, even if you're using a travel pass. If you forget to tag off, a default fare may be charged to your account.

The only exception for tagging on and off for each trip is when transferring between trains on the same line. For example, during peak hours when transferring between an express train and a non-express train on the same line. More information about transfers.

Snapper fares

Fares are calculated based on where you tag on and tag off, counting the number of zones you travel through (including the zone where you start and end your journey). Any eligible free transfers, discounts and concessions will automatically be applied when using Snapper.

If you forget to tag off, you may be charged a default fare.

Snapper 30-Day passes

Snapper 30-Day passes can start any day and are valid for 30 days following the first use. Buy 30-day passes through the Snapper app, or at a Snapper retailer. Passes can't be purchased using existing Snapper credit. To buy a child pass your Snapper card must have a valid child concession.

If you forget to tag off, you may be charged a default fare.

Default fares for Snapper

If you forget to tag off, a default fare may be charged to your account. If you don't have enough regular Snapper credit to cover the default fare, your pass will stop working because you would have a negative balance on your card.

On buses, the default fare is calculated as if you had travelled to the end of that route.

On trains, the default fare is a set amount, listed in the fares tables. They are set amounts because Snapper card readers are on platforms, so the system does not know which service you've taken or the direction you were travelling. 


Cash fares cost at least 25% more than the equivalent Snapper fares. If using multiple services, a separate cash fare applies for each service. Free transfers do not apply to cash fares. When purchasing a cash ticket onboard, correct change is appreciated. 

Cash fares on buses aren't eligible for concessions or discounts, except for child fares. Single Child fares and single Accessible concession fares can be purchased on board trains and ferries. 

Express bus services 30x(external link), 31x(external link), 32x(external link) are Snapper-only, and do not accept cash. This ensures the fastest possible travel time for commuters. 

Single trip fares

Fares are calculated based on the number of zones you travel through (including the zone where you start).

Cash Metlink Explorer day pass

A Metlink Explorer day pass gives you and a child aged 5-15 unlimited travel for one calendar day on Metlink buses and trains weekdays after 9am, all day weekends and public holidays, and on all after midnight services. Child, Accessible, and Tertiary concessions do not apply to the Explorer day pass.

Day passes can be purchased on board buses or trains with cash. Keep your day pass in a safe place, as it won't be replaced or refunded if you lose it.

Kāpiti Combo bus & rail return ticket

Kāpiti Combo tickets are a set fare for same-day return travel using buses and trains between Waikanae and Paraparaumu or between Otaki and Paraparaumu. Kāpiti Combo tickets can be purchased with cash on-board the relevant bus routes, but not on the train. 

There are no one-way combo tickets. Child, Accessible, and Tertiary concessions do not apply to Kāpiti Combo tickets.

Paper rail tickets

We're saying goodbye to paper train tickets.

From 31 December 2022, paper tickets will no longer be sold at Metlink ticket offices or train ticket retailers. You will still be able to buy cash tickets on board and use Snapper on Rail.

Metlink train ticket offices are at some train stations. Train ticket retailers are near some train stations.

Wairarapa Line afternoon peak surcharges and minimum fares

Using Snapper on the Wairarapa Line (starting 27 November) does not have surcharges or minimum fares, because the Snapper readers are on the platforms and the system does not identify which line you have ridden.

If you travel on a Wairarapa Line using cash, 10-trip or Rail MonthlyPlus in the afternoon peak from Wellington Station and only travel as far as Petone, Waterloo or Upper Hutt Station, these charges apply until 31 December 2022:

  • Using Rail Monthly, Rail MonthlyPlus, or a 10-Trip ticket of 7 zones or less, you will need to pay a surcharge 
  • Using cash, a minimum fare for 8 zones applies

Airport Express

The Airport Express (AX)(external link) service travels between the Wellington Airport and Wellington Railway Station.

Travelling on the Airport Express buses costs a fixed fare that is more economical than rideshare services, taxis and shuttles.

Fares & payment options

Wellington Harbour Ferry

Wellington Harbour Ferries provide services between Days Day and Queens Wharf, and Matiu/Somes Island. There are no longer services to Petone due to earthquake damage impacting the pier. Seatoun Wharf is currently closed for maintenance.

Fares & payment options



Cash fares aren't eligible for concessions. Concessions can't be combined for the same journey. 

National Ticketing Solution

Metlink is working with Waka Kotahi to introduce and implement the National Ticketing Solution(external link) which will improve public transport for Wellingtonians and all New Zealanders through a centralised, standardised approach to paying for public transport, and a common customer experience no matter where you are in the country. 

The National Ticketing Solution supports Metlink’s and the government’s goals toward safer and less congested roads, reducing emissions, as well as supporting healthier lifestyles. It will also help to improve access to travel options by providing people with more choice.

In preparation for this, Metlink is implementing contactless payment with Snapper card payments on rail services.