It seems that Blind Freddy was right, and yet again the government was wrong. The much-vaunted and highly advertised Hamilton to Papakura slow train through the Waikato is a massive flop:

It’s been a slow start for passenger numbers on the new Hamilton to Auckland train, with only a handful of commuters travelling on some of the trips.

Figures from Waikato Regional Council shows nearly 100 seats empty on every train after its inaugural journey on April 6.

The train, known as Te Huia, can seat up to 147 people.

On the second day of the service, April 7, 21 commuters travelled on the earliest train from Hamilton at 5.46 am, and 40 took the second train at 6.28 am.

A week later, figures from Tuesday, April 13 show 28 travellers took the earliest train, then 25 people at 6.28 am. Forty-eight people filled the train at Papakura back to Hamilton at 4.42 pm.

The later return trip from Papakura at 6.25pm appears to have the lower passenger numbers, taking 12 back to Hamilton last Monday 12 and Tuesday April 13.

But Waikato Regional Council chair Russ Rimmington told Stuff the service needed time to grow patronage.

“No one is panicking yet, it’s been one week.

“We are giving this train five years.”


Five years? What for?

It will never run at capacity, and will likely be ditched before even one year is up.

This entire exercise will cost millions and end up being shelved through low patronage.

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Slow Start for a Slow Train

Cam Slater

As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news,...