Free fares trial postponed due to red light setting

The nationwide move to red in the COVID protection framework has prompted Metlink to postpone its upcoming free fares weekend originally planned for March.

The decision was announced at today’s meeting of the Transport Committee.

Scott Gallacher General Manager of Metlink said he wants to keep the public safe and the trial to be a success and that means postponing the trial to a time when the network is operating under optimal conditions.

“Yes, we want to be able to properly measure and evaluate the free fares weekend trial but above all else this trial should not be placed above the public’s and our front-line teams’ safety.

“Encouraging a likely influx of passengers to take part in the trial under present circumstances would be inappropriate given the current red settings, placing an unnecessary level of risk onto commuters and staff.

“We will undertake a free fares weekend trial as soon as we are in a lower traffic light setting and we can gain the insights needed from more settled travel patterns and consistent patronage. The timing of this will be reassessed regularly,” said Scott Gallacher, General Manager of Metlink.

Agreeing with the sentiment of public safety, Roger Blakeley, Greater Wellington Transport Committee Chair, also reflected on the silver linings of the temporary postponement.

“A slightly extended timeframe gives the council a great opportunity to carefully consider the trial’s eventual results and the positive effects it could have on several strategic objectives. Namely, mode shift and improved network accessibility”.