Welcome Aboard’s Annual Pass for locals has got to be the greatest deal going for Christchurch says Tramway Operations Manager John Smith. Sales have been gathering momentum, particularly following the re-start of the city’s heritage trams.

So what is the deal?

Annual Pass cost: $55 for an individual adult and $119 for a family comprising two adults and up to three children aged 15 and under.

Annual Pass includes: unlimited rides on both the Christchurch Tram and Christchurch Gondola for one year from the date of purchase.

Annual Passholders are also offered 30% off other Welcome Aboard attractions (including Punting on the Avon, Caterpillar Botanic Gardens Tour and Thrillseekers Adventures Jet Boat rides in Hanmer Springs) as well as a 10% discount on retail goods at the Gondola’s well-stocked Shop at the Top. An Annual Pass does not need much use to pay for itself!

The Annual Pass was introduced when the Wood Scenic Line took over the Tramway and Port Hills Gondola attractions in early 2005. The company, now trading under the Welcome Aboard Christchurch brand, understood locals saw their attractions as existing purely for tourists.

 “The reality is we are involved in the community,” says Smith. “The Annual Pass enables the community to have some ownership in what we offer.”

 Presently about 7000 locals enjoy using an Annual Pass.

 Welcome Aboard perceives the trams as being part of the rebuild. They are providing an attraction at a time when Christchurch has less to offer, for children in particular. Flamboyant developer Anthony Gough is looking forward to the trams being part of his spectacular Oxford Terrace redevelopment.

Pre-earthquake pass holders with time left on their passes as of 22 February 2011 have been able to make use of that remaining time with the clock ticking from when the trams restarted last November. It was a generous offer returning positive feedback for the company.

 “Renewals are coming through with pass holders commenting on the great look of the spruced up trams and they look forward to the extension through City Mall opening.

“It is great to see so many children riding the trams with their parents. They absolutely love their tram rides. We also see their great excitement when they call in to the Cathedral Junction Tram Station ticket office,” Smith says.

 Up at the Gondola’s Red Rock Café a steady flow of Annual Pass holders flow through. The café is a popular morning coffee venue for mothers after dropping their children off at school. They are followed by those calling for a sociable lunch, and after school can also be a popular time.

 To purchase an Annual Pass call in and see the Welcome Aboard staff at either the Cathedral Junction Tram Station or Gondola Base Station.