Snapper on Rail launched on Metlink rail network
Electronic ticketing system Snapper has been launched on the Wellington rail network, giving all Metlink train customers a contactless, electronic payment option for the first time.
Following a successful 12-month trial on the Johnsonville line, Snapper on Rail went live on the Kāpiti line on 12 November. It becomes available for Melling, Hutt Valley and Wairarapa trains from 27 November.
Paper ticket sales at stations will cease on 31 December, but rail customers without Snapper cards will still be able to pay their fares onboard with cash.
Transport Minister Michael Wood attended today’s launch at the Wellington Railway Station, calling Snapper on Rail an important step towards the Government’s National Ticketing Solution (NTS).
“By expanding Snapper from buses to trains, Metlink, with the support of Waka Kotahi, is preparing Wellington rail users for the NTS, which will further expand electronic payment options to contactless debit and credit cards, digital methods as well as a pre-paid transit card,” the Minister said.
“Making fares easier and more convenient to pay will encourage more people to use public transport, reducing traffic congestion and carbon emissions.”
With the NTS expected in Wellington in 2026, Greater Wellington Deputy Chair Adrienne Staples said the regional council was pleased to give Metlink customers an interim electronic payment option.
“Our passengers have long called for smart ticketing on trains. Snapper has been on our buses since 2008, so many Wellingtonians already have Snapper cards,” Cr Staples said.
“We’re confident the convenience of Snapper on Rail will increase patronage towards our mode shift target. Greater Wellington is aiming for a 40 percent rise in public transport use and active travel modes, like cycling, by 2030”
With more than 90 percent of fares on the Johnsonville line now paid by Snapper card, Metlink General Manager Samantha Gain said the success of the Snapper on Rail Pilot had given Greater Wellington the confidence to roll out Snapper to the rest of the rail network.
“Snapper on Rail will make travel on Metlink trains convenient and cost effective for our customers,” Ms Gain said.
“Train fares paid with Snapper receive the same discount previously applied to ten-trip tickets. Concessions for children, tertiary students and accessibility customers continue to be available through Snapper.
“The Snapper 30-day pass is available at the same discounted rate as the old monthly pass but can be activated on any day rather than being restricted to a calendar month.”
Snapper on Rail customers tag on and off trains at validator machines installed at stations. Snapper cards are checked onboard to ensure customers have tagged on.
Snapper Chief Executive Miki Szikszai said Snapper on Rail was a convenient solution for the digital age.
“Snapper cards can be purchased at hundreds of retailers around the region. What makes Snapper even more convenient is that you can top up your cards using the Snapper app on your mobile phone. Cardholders without a compatible phone can top up at retailers and in Snapper self-service kiosks,” Mr Szikszai.
“Snapper is a proud to be a Wellington-based company and we are focused on playing our part to create an excellent public transport experience. The Snapper team is standing by to support Snapper cardholders to smoothly make the change away from paper tickets.”
The total cost of Snapper on Rail is $18m, including $10m for ongoing operating costs. About half of the $8m set-up cost is for infrastructure and civil works that will not be reincurred for the NTS.
“Snapper on Rail will deliver savings for ratepayers by reducing fare loss, cash handling and administrative costs associated with paper tickets,” Ms Gain said.
“It will provide valuable passenger travel data to help Metlink improve service delivery and network efficiency across both rail and connecting bus services.”