According to Metlink’s most recent monthly performance report (2023), 6,500 buses were cancelled in February alone.
Commuters on the Kāpiti line are becoming increasingly frustrated with the unreliability of Wellington trains and their bus replacements, causing unpredictable and sometimes distressing commutes home from the CBD.
Since KiwiRail began ongoing adjustments to the Kāpiti railroad in early January, Metlink has introduced buses to replace the usual train routes. Passengers travelling to Kāpiti often split up their commute home by taking a train to Paekākāriki; then they catch a connecting bus for the final leg of their journey.
However, constant bus cancellations and unpredictable arrival times make this transfer a near impossible task.
According to the most recent Metlink Performance Report released in February 2023, 48.6% of the bus services in Wellington recorded at their destination did not arrive at the scheduled time, with 37.6% arriving early and 11% arriving late. Additionally, due to staffing shortages, often only one bus is scheduled to replace a six or seven carriage train.
Some commuters are feeling frustrated with the situation, “The bus replacement alert often happens while I’m sitting on the train home or without much notice, and because of the temporary 70km speed restrictions, I usually miss the connecting bus at Paekākāriki station,” said a Kāpiti commuter, Finlay Barry.
“Finding alternative transport home is the last thing I want to deal with after a long day at work,” He adds.
Paekākāriki station, a familiar sight for many Kāpiti commuters. Photo / David Haxton.
Others are feeling stressed and concerned. “Every day I go to work, I wonder how long it might take me to get home and what I’ll do if I can’t. Every day it’s a relief to get on a train and an ever-bigger relief to get off at the other end,” said a member of the ‘Kapiti Line Commuters’ Facebook page.
Metlink has acknowledged the problem and has apologised for the inconvenience caused to passengers. When asked about their plans to address the situation Metlink’s General Manager, Samantha Gain, informed WellingtonLive that they are “committed to minimising train disruptions for the Kāpiti community. Track maintenance and improvements are an important part of providing Greater Wellington with a safe and modern rail network.”
A Government-ordered review into KiwiRail’s efforts to restore the Kāpiti line is currently underway. In the meantime, commuters can only hope for a quick resolution to their daily troubles.