Mass rapid transit

In June 2022 the Government and our partners made some big decisions about the future of Wellington, mass rapid transit, improvements at the Basin Reserve and an extra Mt Victoria Tunnel as part of our multi-billion dollar plan to move more people with fewer vehicles, enable more housing, and help reduce emissions.

Latest Project Update

On Wednesday 29 June, Transport Minister Michael Wood and Infrastructure Minister Grant Robertson announced that the Government supports further investigation of a Light Rail transit system to unlock Wellington’s potential.

Overall, the Light Rail transit option:

  • enables the best social, environmental and urban development outcomes for the Capital
  • provides the greatest benefits to commuters, especially those using public transport, who will get to the city faster, with less impact on the environment, and 
  • support the delivery of up to 21,000 new homes for Wellingtonians.

Recent public engagement showed strong public support for Light Rail, because of its capacity, reliability, and frequency, as well as improved carbon performance. 

The preferred programme announcement also includes improvements at the Basin Reserve and an extra Mt Victoria Tunnel and follows more than four years of work and extensive public and stakeholder consultation on the proposed four mass rapid transit options.

What happens next

Following our Council partners' decision to approve a mass rapid transit option on 6th July, we will look to develop a detailed investigation into Light Rail. In addition to the Light Rail transit option, the Government has asked us to continue investigating bus rapid transit as an alternative electric vehicle option because emerging technology may be able to deliver similar or more capacity to Light Rail in the future.

About this project

Let’s Get Wellington Moving is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape Wellington’s future, align transport and urban development, move more people with fewer vehicles, and address the climate crisis. 

It’s about the way we move, supporting the way we live. 

By 2050 we’re expecting 50,000 to 80,000 more Wellingtonians, and 25% more people coming into the central city each workday from across the region. 

That’s a big challenge. 

As Wellington’s population grows, we’ll need to build more homes that we can afford and are closer to where we need to be. And we need to act now on climate change. To do this we need state-of-the-art public transport, powered by New Zealand’s renewable electricity, that can move more of us around Wellington more quickly and reliably.   
More people will be able to live centrally, close to where they work or study. Getting around will be safer, easier, and healthier, without relying on cars. You’ll have higher-quality and more reliable public transport, walking and cycling options. There’ll be better and more frequent connections between the region, the hospital and airport, and between the central city and the suburbs.  

View the proposal

The proposal

We know from cities like ours overseas that mass rapid transit encourages economic growth, more housing and urban development, and helps suburbs flourish and grow. It transforms how people live their lives. 

We’ve researched which kind of transport is right for the people using it, the climate crisis, and best meets Wellington’s challenging geography and geology. 

We are looking at four options with a mix of different transport modes. The modes are modern electric vehicles with lots of space and a smoother ride. 

We are considering two types of modern electric vehicles: 

  • light rail
  • Bus Rapid Transit

And, we're looking at big changes along two routes:

  • To the south - from the Wellington Railway Station past the Wellington Regional Hospital and on to Island Bay, with big potential for new housing and neighbourhood growth. 
  • To the east - from the Basin Reserve through Mt Victoria, on to Miramar and the airport, with some potential for new housing and urban development.

These routes will help us easily get to the places we need to go and transforming our future city. We're also looking at enhancing the Basin Reserve and an extra Mt Victoria tunnel.



Approval was given to proceed to more detailed investigation of programme of projects.


  • Initial project assessments
  • Community feedback received
2021 - 2022 (current)

  • Early assessment
  • Traffic modelling & specialist assessments
  • Community feedback sought
  • Affordability checks
  • Preferred option selected
2022 - 2024

  • Preferred option concept development
  • Detailed surveying & impact assessments
  • Community feedback sought
  • Preferred option selected
  • Project investment decision
2024 - 2027

  • Design work continues with feedback from the community, businesses, and our funding partners
  • Project mitigations designed and agreed on
  • Land acquisition

  • 8-15 years depending on the chosen option

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