Two fare train sparks apology

By nathan.crombie@age.co.nz, Nathan Crombie


A Tranz Metro boss has apologised to Wings Over Wairarapa rail passengers for a pricing glitch that hit a special train service to the airshow.

The return service ran from the capital to Masterton each day on January 19 and 20 over the Wellington Anniversary weekend of the airshow.

Tranz Metro manager Scott Brooks said return tickets on the special service had cost $49 each through Ticketek - more than double the standard weekend same day return fares of $21.

The price was higher because the special service was not subsidised by ratepayers.

But Mr Brooks said the normal $21 fare was wrongly charged to passengers buying tickets on the day.

He apologised to those show-goers charged the higher amount and consequently left with "a slightly bad taste in their mouths".

He said 107 of 322 passengers were charged a reduced price on the special service on Saturday and 34 of 106 passengers paid a lower fare for the service on Sunday.

Mr Brooks apologised in a letter sent last week to about 10 passengers who had so far complained about paying the greater, albeit correct, charge.

Mr Brooks blamed the aberrant pricing on "an internal communications error" and said tickets sold on the day of travel should have cost "exactly the same price" as those purchased through Ticketek.

"Unfortunately, this additional service could not be subsidised by the ratepayers, and had to be self-funded, which is why the tickets were priced above the normal fare structure.

"Our intention was to collect enough revenue to pay for the cost of the service, and we priced the tickets accordingly. I must stress that the pricing of the tickets was done by Tranz Metro and not Ticketek or the Wings Over Wairarapa team," he said.

"Due to our mistake, the people who purchased a ticket on the day got a heavily discounted ticket, but this was not our intention, and we have lost revenue due to this," Mr Brooks said.

"We have learned from this mistake, and have adjusted what we do and how we do it to ensure that this type of issue does not arise again.

"Again, my apologies for maybe taking the edge off what was a fabulous day."

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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