“KiwiRail is committed to ensuring that Interislander remains operational, as a crucial transport link between the North and South Islands,” says Group Chief Executive Greg Miller.
“As part of our response to COVID-19, we are making changes to our Interislander services to reduce risk for our people and passengers, and help ensure that a robust supply chain is maintained.
“We have already reduced the passenger limit numbers on each sailing in order to allow for physical distancing.
“From tomorrow, (March 23) the Aratere will become a freight-only service (rail freight and commercial vehicles), until the end of June 2020. This move will help ensure resilience in shifting freight across Cook Strait.
“Affected passengers have been transferred to either the Kaiarahi or Kaitaki, which will continue to operate passenger and commercial vehicle services.
“Extra cleaning and physical distancing measures are already in effect on those services.
“We are continuing to monitor the fast-evolving situation closely.
“These are unprecedented times for our business and for New Zealand as a whole. We thank our customers and the public for their patience during this period of uncertainty.”