NEW ZEALAND: Cash sales of tickets on the Metlink transport network in Greater Wellington will end on March 23, in a move which Metlink said was designed ‘to stay one step ahead of Covid-19 and give our passengers and staff more peace of mind’.

On the rail network, ticket checking and cash sales will be removed from trains and stations, moving to card payment at staffed stations. Metlink is offering a 50% discount on monthly passes during April, May and June to encourage passengers to switch from single and 10-trip tickets; passengers buying a pass for April will be able to start using it in March.

Single and 10-trip tickets will still be sold from staffed stations using card payments; with the withdrawal of on-train inspection, passengers will be expected to cross off each trip themselves under an honesty policy. ‘Aside from occasional spot checks at railway stations, we will be trusting customers to have the right ticket to travel’, said Greater Wellington Regional Council Chair Daran Ponter on March 19.

Cash payments will be removed from all Metlink buses, with passengers asked to use a Snapper smart card. ‘We understand the move from cash to Snapper is new for a small number of customers and we would like to support them as best we can’, said Ponter. ‘From March 23-30 any passenger boarding a bus without a Snapper card will be given a card preloaded with NZ$5.’

‘Public transport is an essential part of keeping our country running at this time’, he continued. ‘Metlink and Greater Wellington continue to take advice from the Ministry of Health and the NZ Transport Agency and the health and safety of both our staff and customers is the most important thing. I want to thank all of our customers for their patience during this difficult time and for continuing to work with us as things evolve.’