Michael Fox reports at Stuff:
The Capital Connection rail link between Wellington and Palmerston North continues to make significant losses, despite concerted efforts to make it commercially viable, and halfway through a two-year trial the link’s future looks shaky.
Labour has promised to save the financially-stretched passenger service by pumping in millions in subsidies if it is elected in September.
But Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee has dismissed the proposal, saying efforts to save the service are failing and if passengers want it to survive they need to use it.
Brownlee agreed to a 2013 proposal from councils, including Greater Wellington and Kapiti District, to maintain the service for an extra two years in a bid to see if it could be saved, after KiwiRail revealed the operation was making a loss.
But in spite of fare hikes and efforts to boost patronage, the line will make a loss of more than $600,000 this year, while the number of passengers has also declined.
Only 250 people a day use it. But Labour wants to spend taxpayers money on subdising it. Why?