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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 5 (September 1, 1929)

Passenger Traffic

Passenger Traffic

The general programme for the improvement of our car stock includes many features which will help to make train travelling more attractive, but progress with the work could not be made on a large scale until the principal workshops on our system had been modernised. Now that the new workshops are in full occupation, progress in supplying that elusive quality of service which lies in comfortable and good-looking vehicles should be rapid and productive of good results. I think it will help us to compete successfully with road services that have come into the field recently over routes served by the rail, where the day, or the greater portion of it, is necessarily occupied in travelling. On a run such as that between Auckland and Rotorua we will be able to make the trip more interesting and convenient to through passengers than it could be by road. Where the density of traffic warrants it, observation and coupé cars, certainly can supply opportunities for either work or entertainment, that road services cannot provide. Music, reading, private business, discussions, or secretarial work are amongst the things that the new daylight passenger train rolling-stock will make possible to travellers. With this we hope to build up a social atmosphere on our trains that better equipment, increased facilities for recreation, and higher standards of comfort will encourage. The general attitude of the staff towards passengers is already distinctly good, but, quite naturally, the members of the staff are affected by their surroundings. Practical experience has indicated that the are made capable of better service with each improvement in the appearance and quality of the trains they handle.

Meantime many small matters are receiving attention, for I recognise that slight and inexpensive alterations can often add greatly to the convenience and comfort of the traveller. For instance, seats may now be reserved for children under three years of age without the payment of a fare. Another new feature has been the introduction of an issue of “Tourist Excursion” tickets for second class travel. Up to the present only first class tickets of this type have been on sale. The second class “Tourist” ticket will supply remarkably cheap travel. The rate to be charged has been fixed at £7/10/- for four weeks’ travel in one Island, or £13 for seven weeks’ travel over all the railway lines in New Zealand. The average cost of a full day's travel by rail on these tickets will be only 6/-per day as compared with the average of about 8/-per day for first class tourist tickets. The new issue should prove very popular with those who wish to travel cheaply over considerable distances for holiday or business purposes. They are being introduced now so that they may be taken into consideration by the public, when planning their annual holidays, as a particularly cheap method of seeing New Zealand.

The “Daylight Limited,” the scenic train of the central North Island will this year be introduced at the end of September. This is much earlier then usual. The service is popular with those passengers from the South Island who want quick connection with the northern portions of New Zealand. It is also a very useful train for business people. Visitors to the National Park will find the train a particularly convenient one. The longer that was not possible when the service was put on only for short periods.