What to do with your Newlands bus card

Are you one of the thousands of locals wondering how to get your fare balance AND $10 deposit back on your Newlands bus card when becomes useless on 15 July?

Long story short: JCA recommends: Go in person with your card to the Newlands Bus office. Greater Wellington Regional Council has promised Newlands Coach Services will pay you your remaining fare balance and $10 deposit when you hand over your card.

15 July – all change for Johnsonville’s buses

Newlands bus card

Newlands bus card

It’s not long to Sunday 15 July, the contract termination date for the current provider of bus services to Wellington’s Northern suburbs, Newlands Coach Services. That’s when your bus routes and bus numbers will be all new, and you’ll have to use a Snapper card to pay for the new services provided by Tranzit.

Metlink provides some clear information:


JCA thinks the new routes and integrated ticketing will generally be good for locals.

BUT a JCA member has asked us:

“I already have a Snapper card and I don’t want a second one. I just  want my deposit money and fare balance back. What do I need to do?”

The problem

So far, despite having a year to plan for this easily predictable and rightful claim, the information provided by Newlands Bus and Metlink and greater Wellington Regional Council has been either zero or wrong or just plain confusing. For example, GW tells us to “Post your Mana/Newlands card, together with a bank deposit slip, to Mana Coach Services Limited at 44 Newlands Road, Newlands, Wellington. Mana will then deposit the balance into your bank account and destroy the card.”

There’s a few problems with that:

  • They’re ambiguous about whether they’ll pay you the $10 deposit as well as the fare balance. The amount is too small to warrant registered delivery due to lack of assurance, which brings us to:
  • Trust. They’re saying, “Trust us, we’ll be good; we’ll tell the truth about whether we have received your card; and we have all the deposit and balance cash sequestered and ready to pay back whenever needed. You won’t have to hassle us for it. Honest.” If the evidence is destroyed, how do I prove I sent it? We should have some official assurance around this.
  • Return on time invested: The cards cost “$10  to hire the card” (the deposit) and then there’s your fare balance on top. We have to buy a $1 stamp and put the card in a 50c envelope and faff around going to the bank to get a deposit slip, fill in the slip with our details and then locate a post box that’s still being collected from … crikey dicks, you’d think they wanted us to not bother and just let them keep our money…

A lot of us might be willing to give up at just the thought of those hoops we have to jump through.

JCA’s preferred solution

… is perhaps far too simple for the bureaucrats. But here goes:

Newlands Coach Services should just give all the money to Metlink or GW, and then one of those two should set up one of the disused shops in Johnsonville for a couple of months and just give people their cash.  


P.S. — edit, 10 June

A few people have commented in social media responses to this item that Newlands Coach Services have closed their Newlands Road depot for refurbishment (a mere coincidence, we’re sure!) and they now have a temporary office at 1/6 Hurring Place. This is in the storage units immediately behind the Newlands bus depot.

They say the office will only be open for lost property claims. 

NCS page - smartcard promise
NCS page – smartcard promise

JCA says … don’t let that stop you!

NCS on their own website promise to return the fare balance and deposit to you if you return the card. The image here is a screenshot taken on Saturday 9 June.

  • Their contract terms with us their customers say nothing about having to post the card.
  • If you’re eyeballing them, they have to at least give you a receipt for the card.
  • They have said nothing about the mode of repayment.
  • Given the small amount, we say they should pay it in cash.

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