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444 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 151954 11-Sep-2014 09:02
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I've recently started riding to work from Upper Hutt to Lower Hutt and I purchased a 10 trip train pass for those days when the weather is bad or I can't be bothered with the ride.

 

The Wairarapa train is the only option if you want to take a bike during peak time, and traveling from UH to LH there are no problems. Last night I caught the Wairarapa train from Lower Hutt to Upper Hutt for the first time and was charged a $1 surcharge. I didn't pay it because I didn't have $1 on me.

I checked the Tranz Metro website and this is what it states;

 

 

 

A minimum adult cash fare of $10.50 (8 zones) applies for journeys from Wellington to Petone, Waterloo and Upper Hutt stations on Wairarapa trains. Passengers using a Hutt Valley 10-trip or Monthly ticket are required to pay a cash surcharge to onboard staff. The minimum fare does not apply to Wellington-bound services. Waterloo or Petone 10-trip or monthly pass holders must pay a $5.00 cash surcharge, Upper Hutt 10-trip or monthly pass holders must pay a $1.00 cash surcharge.
For normal Hutt Valley fares refer to the Hutt Valley Times and Fares

 

http://www.tranzmetro.co.nz/Fares.aspx?LineID=5&FromID=16&ToID=27

 





 






So according to their own website, if I'm traveling from Wellington to Upper Hutt with a 10 trip pass it's a $1 surcharge.

The surcharge is designed to discourage Hutt Valley commuters taking the seats on the Wairarapa bound train from Wellington. Fair enough.

I called Tranz Metro this morning and the customer services rep quoted the above info, but when I asked specifically about the $1 fare from Lower Hutt to Upper Hutt she couldn't show me any documentation about it. She's since called back and said that the info is unclear and she does not know if I should pay the $1 fare or not.

$1 may seem a trivial amount but I have already purchased a 10 trip ticket between Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt and if I catch the train home 3 days per week it's an extra $150 per year extra. It's also an inconvenience to carry $1 coins for train travel only.

What do you guys think? Am I correct in challenging what looks to be a very arbitrary fare?











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1888 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1126302 11-Sep-2014 09:19
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It sounds like the system down there is a little bit stuffed.  I think you are correct in challenging it, especially since the information regarding the surcharge was unclear by the company trying to charge you.

$1.00 builds up quite quickly!  Can't say I could stand the $5.00 surcharge!  I think I'd just take the car.





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  Reply # 1126309 11-Sep-2014 09:31
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And this is why public transport sucks. Sounds like your going to have to keep a few dollar coins in your wallet.

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  Reply # 1126313 11-Sep-2014 09:39
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there has been a surcharge on the Wairarapa train for as long as I can remember, just wait a few minutes for the next train they are never far apart during the peak times




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  Reply # 1126314 11-Sep-2014 09:42
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When you say Lower Hutt, do you mean Waterloo station ?

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  Reply # 1126316 11-Sep-2014 09:47
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Yes you are correct in challenging it.

The material you have quoted is quite clear.  If you travel from Wellington you pay the extra charge.

There is no problem with people from Lower Hutt filling up the train so there is no need to charge the extra fare.

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  Reply # 1126321 11-Sep-2014 09:55
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It's a pretty trivial argument but I'm pretty sure the stickers on the trains say that a surcharge will apply between any stations on the Hutt Valley line.



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  Reply # 1126333 11-Sep-2014 09:58
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What do you guys think? Am I correct in challenging what looks to be a very arbitrary fare?


Your 10 trip fare covers you riding on the standard commuter electrics.

The Wairarapa services, like the Palmy ones are quite different trains, nicer carriages, more room, tables, etc. I'm quite frankly mildy amazed that they let you use a standard Upper Hutt Ten Trip on them at all, even with a surchage. They stopped you being able to do the equivalent on the Kapiti Line with the Palmy trains years ago. You can not travel on them with a standard tranz metro 10-trip or monthly, you need a special one that costs significantly more. When I was commuting in from Kapiti I would have happily paid a $1 surcharge to be able to take that train from time to time.

I think your being a bit of a sad guy, pay the $1 and be glad you have that option.






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  Reply # 1126340 11-Sep-2014 10:05
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The surcharge was originally for both north bound and south bound. The morning southbound was relaxed due couple of years ago, either due to engineering works or problems with the Matangi stock.

The intent is to discourage Hutt Valley users from using the regional train.

>> There is no problem with people from Lower Hutt filling up the train so there is no need to charge the extra fare. 

Northbound commuters for the Wairarapa also get on at Petone, Waterloo and Upper Hutt.


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  Reply # 1126349 11-Sep-2014 10:20
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roobarb: The surcharge was originally for both north bound and south bound. The morning southbound was relaxed due couple of years ago, either due to engineering works or problems with the Matangi stock.

The intent is to discourage Hutt Valley users from using the regional train.

>> There is no problem with people from Lower Hutt filling up the train so there is no need to charge the extra fare. 

Northbound commuters for the Wairarapa also get on at Petone, Waterloo and Upper Hutt.



Sorry, I forget that there people commuting from Wairarapa to places other than Wellington CBD.



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1126350 11-Sep-2014 10:20
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The issue I have is with the ambiguity of the policy.

The info published on the Tranz Metro website and in the Metlink timetable does not specify commuters traveling from Waterloo to Upper Hutt. It only mentions people boarding at Wellington to the hutt valley. Their customer service rep acknowledged that even she is confused by the wording of the policy.









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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1126354 11-Sep-2014 10:25
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DravidDavid:  Can't say I could stand the $5.00 surcharge!  I think I'd just take the car.


There are plenty of specific Hutt Valley trains that don't have the surcharge. It's only on the Wairarapa line as a way to discourage people traveling from Wellington to the hutt. The Wairarapa train runs from Wellington to Masterton, a 90 minute journey.

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  Reply # 1126370 11-Sep-2014 10:47
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There is no ambiguity with the intent of the policy, however both professional and barrack-room lawyers can always play games with words.

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  Reply # 1126419 11-Sep-2014 11:29
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Ahh Tranz Metro...

Fits right in with the whole logic of "We must clip your monthly pass because if it isn't clipped its not valid" argument. Yet they don't clip them when they sell you them, only occasionally they clip them on board (maybe twice a year for me). Not that it even matters because they are pieces of paper, not electronic, not returned... so what is the point of clipping them again?

Seems pointless and given their constant issues with running late, reduced services, bus replacements, mechanical issues it would be a nice gesture to simplify it for the end customer.




 

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1126519 11-Sep-2014 13:47
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Shock: Ahh Tranz Metro...

Fits right in with the whole logic of "We must clip your monthly pass because if it isn't clipped its not valid" argument. Yet they don't clip them when they sell you them, only occasionally they clip them on board (maybe twice a year for me). Not that it even matters because they are pieces of paper, not electronic, not returned... so what is the point of clipping them again?

Seems pointless and given their constant issues with running late, reduced services, bus replacements, mechanical issues it would be a nice gesture to simplify it for the end customer.



Yeah, the mentality behind their fares policies, and the attitude of the frontline staff who enforce them even though they a) don't understand the policy and b) are usually wrong when it comes to "edge cases" is what drove me completely nuts about travelling on TranzMetro. 

My partner and I encountered a stupid train fare situation at Paraparaumu station once, where we wanted to buy a pro-rated monthly pass for the last two weeks of January (you're allowed to do this if you are also purchasing the next month's pass at the same time) - they have this big f-k off book of lookup tables to tell the staff how much they should charge for each pass on any given day of any month. We did the math (it's not hard) and it turns out that their book was wrong. The guy insisted that we pay the amount in the book. After a while we gave up arguing, as the calculation was actually in our favour...they're mental. 

For the life of me I cannot understand why they persist with actual people clipping actual paper tickets. The may have upgraded the 1950s trains, but they still have 1950s processes and staff who need upgrading (or removal!!) too!!!!

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1126993 12-Sep-2014 09:02
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markl:
Shock: Ahh Tranz Metro...

Fits right in with the whole logic of "We must clip your monthly pass because if it isn't clipped its not valid" argument. Yet they don't clip them when they sell you them, only occasionally they clip them on board (maybe twice a year for me). Not that it even matters because they are pieces of paper, not electronic, not returned... so what is the point of clipping them again?

Seems pointless and given their constant issues with running late, reduced services, bus replacements, mechanical issues it would be a nice gesture to simplify it for the end customer.



Yeah, the mentality behind their fares policies, and the attitude of the frontline staff who enforce them even though they a) don't understand the policy and b) are usually wrong when it comes to "edge cases" is what drove me completely nuts about travelling on TranzMetro. 

My partner and I encountered a stupid train fare situation at Paraparaumu station once, where we wanted to buy a pro-rated monthly pass for the last two weeks of January (you're allowed to do this if you are also purchasing the next month's pass at the same time) - they have this big f-k off book of lookup tables to tell the staff how much they should charge for each pass on any given day of any month. We did the math (it's not hard) and it turns out that their book was wrong. The guy insisted that we pay the amount in the book. After a while we gave up arguing, as the calculation was actually in our favour...they're mental. 

For the life of me I cannot understand why they persist with actual people clipping actual paper tickets. The may have upgraded the 1950s trains, but they still have 1950s processes and staff who need upgrading (or removal!!) too!!!!

My favourite is when someone with an Upper Hutt to Wgtn monthly pass gets told they can't use it on the Melling line despite being able to use a Waterloo to Wgtn monthly on the Melling line and the fact that the UH to Wgtn one is approximately twice the cost.  I actually checked this with their customer services and was told that it was perfectly ok to use it.  Still come across one ticket clipper who insists otherwise. 
Any other commuter provider would work on a zone basis for fares and not a specific destination.  Not to mention electronic fare systems like Snapper or Myki which seem to work quite well where they are implemented.





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