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Metlink released the findings of its post implementation review into fares in a report to Council today which showed changes to fares and ticketing  performed well against expectations and contributing to a range of cost saving benefits for passengers across the region.

The Better Metlink Fares review, carried out in parallel to the wider bus network review across the region, focused on the range of fare and ticketing measures introduced in July 2018 across the Metlink public transport network, with the new bus network and Snapper ticketing roll-out.

Greater Wellington Regional Council Transport Chair Roger Blakeley said the report was an important part in understanding the whole picture for passengers.

“While the Bus Network Review has given us a great community-led action plan for the future of how people get around it’s also important to look at affordability for customers too. The Better Metlink Fares report clearly shows that the average fare has improved, especially for those who are most dependent on public transport or can travel during the off‐peak period,” says Cr Blakeley.

The changes in July 2018 represented the first major change to fares in Wellington since 2006 and were aimed at creating simpler and more consistent fares, greater concessions and affordability, more off-peak travel to spread the travel load, and greater use of electronic ticketing and less use of cash.

To meet these aims Metlink introduced a range of measures, including: a 3% fare increase, 25% discount for full-time students, 25% off-peak discount, 50% accessible discount, 50% discount for all school children, free bus transfers, Snapper on all Metlink buses and a 25% premium for all cash fares.

“The report clearly shows that as a package, Metlink achieved much of what it set out to accomplish and this contributed to more people using the network across the region than originally envisioned.  Patronage growth was 4.6 percent against an original forecast of 4 percent,” says Cr Blakeley.

As well as passengers making more trips across the region the Metlink Better Fares package also resulted in the following benefits for passengers:



Off peak fares

  • Off-peak bus boardings is higher than expected (approx. 5.3%)
  • Travelling on an off-peak discount on average costs about $2 for adult bus users compared with the $2.65 in the past.

Electronic ticketing

  • Use of electronic ticketing on buses has increased by 18%,
  • Approximately 78% of bus boardings now using a Snapper card.
  • Free bus transfers for customers within a 30 minute window.

Note: only 0.6% (150k) transfers are required as a result of the new bus network – all other transfers are at the choice of customers as they travel through the region and make use of free transfers to design their own journeys.

Tertiary and accessible discounts

  • Discounted tertiary and accessibility fares account for approx. 8% of total bus boardings
  • Average fare has reduced from $2.35 to $1.96, largely due to off-peak fare and concessions.

50% school discount

  • School fares and products are consistently priced and applied with clear eligibility.
  • Double the amount of students using the discount than expected as students switching from the discontinued exempt services and legacy school term passes to Metlink services.

Monthly rail passes

  • Now available across whole of region
  • Increased use of passes for bus-to-train transfers which means an increase in passengers travelling by bus to train stations (1.5% now vs 0.5% in past).

The report, and associated background technical information, have been independently peer reviewed to ensure the findings are sound and based on appropriate logic and data. Download a copy of the summary report.

Posted on 30 April 2020