Metlink's new Airport Express ready to fly
Metlink’s Airport Express will take flight for the first time tomorrow, restoring a much-needed bus service to the Wellington region.
Ten new purpose-built, fully electric buses make up the Airport Express fleet, which will run between Wellington Railway Station and Wellington International Airport approximately every 10-20 minutes, seven days a week.
Transport Minister Michael Wood said the Airport Express aligned with the government’s goal of decarbonising the national bus fleet by 2035.
“With electric vehicles, we safeguard our climate and the future of Wellington as an international destination,” the Minister said.
“By working as a unit, we have connected our rail and bus networks to the airport, extending an electric welcome to visitors and a carbon free farewell.”
Greater Wellington Chair Daran Ponter said with the Airport Express, the council’s public transport wing would provide, “A vital service for the people of the region”.
“With New Zealand’s borders open to the world and domestic flights returning to pre-Covid levels, Metlink’s Airport Express will boost Wellington’s value as a regional hub for air travel,” Cr Ponter said.
“The regional rail network and airport are now connected by affordable, state of the art public transport.”
In a first for buses in the capital, Airport Express fares can be purchased with a contactless debit or credit card.
Metlink General Manager Samantha Gain said passengers could also pay cash or use a Snapper card.
“Tagging on and off with Snapper gives Airport Express passengers a discount. It also enables us to collect data and respond to customer demand that might require adjustments to our train and bus timetables to connect with flights,” Ms Gain said.
“Free Wi-Fi, USB chargers and luggage racks on Airport Express buses are also part of the customer focus provided by our operator.”
Recently purchased by Transdev, service operator Mana Newlands has been connecting Metlink passengers to Wellington’s northern suburbs for 30 years.
Transdev Australia Chief Executive Luke Agati said he was delighted those connections were now extended to the airport by an environmentally friendly fleet.
“We’re proud to run a fully-electric bus service in Wellington, complementing our EV fleets in Europe, all of which contribute to our goal of enabling zero emission transport,” Mr Agati said.
“The Airport Express is part of Transdev’s ongoing global commitment to connect communities and shape cities through more sustainable transport. It’s also part of Transdev’s proud and growing New Zealand footprint.”
Greater Wellington Transport Committee Chair Roger Blakeley said the Airport Express was another step towards the council’s mode shift and carbon reduction objectives.
“Shifting people from private vehicles onto public transport is not only good for the climate it will reduce journey times to the airport,” Cr Blakeley said.
“We’re thrilled Metlink’s ever expanding fleet of electric vehicles is being bolstered by beautiful blue buses that the people of our region will instantly recognise as the Airport Express.”
Wellington Mayor Andy Foster said the Airport Express was a vehicle for stimulating the local economy in a sustainable way.
“Major airports need good public transport links to their cities and the Airport Express launch is well timed as our air passenger numbers recover from the impacts of Covid,” Mayor Foster said.
“With stops in the heart of the city near attractions, shops and hotels, this is a service for every traveller whether here for business or pleasure.
“It will also contribute to reducing traffic congestion by providing a convenient, climate-friendly and cost-effective way to get to and from our airport.”
“Reconnecting Wellington with the world is what we have all been working towards,” said Wellington International Airport Chief Executive Matt Clarke.
“Giving air travellers convenient, affordable and reliable transport to and from the airport is fundamental, and we are pleased that Metlink will now have a service operating for both visitors and the people of the Wellington region.”
Find out more about the Airport Express at metlink.org.nz/airport-express