Metlink generally will not provide free fares as a form of sponsorship or general support for events, as public transport fares are already heavily subsidised by ratepayers and taxpayers. 

On some occasions, Metlink may agree to provide free or subsidised fares for events, but this will only be considered when there is a demonstrated additional benefit for public transport and/or the wider transport network, for example:

  • As part of a strategy to reduce traffic congestion and network congestion associated with the event;
  • To address operational or safety issues related to public transport;  or
  • To reduce revenue leakage.

On request from large event organisers, GWRC officers will work with Transdev (the Metlink rail operator), bus operators, Snapper and event organisers to pursue integrated event ticketing for large events, with pricing negotiated on a bulk purchase basis.

Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Sustainable Transport Committee considered a report at its 20 March 2019 meeting clarifying the sponsorship policy for Metlink public transport.

The meeting minutes requested that officers develop guidelines to be made available to operators, event organisers and the general public via the Metlink website.  Specific recommendations were that the Committee:

  • Agrees with the following assumptions underpinning the current operational approach for assessing requests for free or subsidised fares for events:
    • Metlink generally will not provide free fares as a form of sponsorship or general support for events, as public transport fares are already heavily subsidised by ratepayers and taxpayers.
    • On some occasions, Metlink may agree to provide free or subsidised fares for events, but this will only be considered when there is a demonstrated additional benefit for public transport and/or the wider transport network, for example:
      • as part of a strategy to reduce traffic congestion and network congestion associated with the event
      • to address operational or safety issues related to public transport
      • to reduce revenue leakage.
  • Agrees that decisions on fare subsidies for specific events shall be determined by the Sustainable Transport Committee, or in the case of urgency jointly by the Council Chair and the Chair of the Sustainable Transport Committee (or in each case by their Deputy if the officeholder is unavailable).
  • Notes that officers will continue to work with the rail operator and event organisers to pursue integrated event ticketing for large events, with pricing negotiated on a bulk purchase basis.
  • Notes that commercial sponsorship opportunities for public transport (should Metlink wish to pursue them) are best considered within a wider marketing/branding strategy for public transport and should be reported to the Committee for approval.