A very important milestone was achieved last week, the Airbus Express buses went live on AT HOP. That means that every public bus, train or ferry service in Auckland can now be boarded and paid for using the same smart card. It’s a milestone that’s been dreamed about for decades and one that has a lot of false starts along the way. While the current implementation has certainly had some issues along the way since. Examples include fare evasion on trains, the removal of passes, money collected from penalty fares and of course the numerous issues with snapper but it does seem like the worst of the issues are now behind us.

On a positive note I’m also already hearing stories of how the change is benefiting people. For example people waiting along Gt North Rd have started realising that they no longer have to wait for a specific service or bus company to get to town but can get just the next one that comes along. Personally I’ve already found it much easier to catch different types of services including combining bus and train trips. After all these types of scenarios are really some of the key reasons for introducing integrated ticketing in the first place.

Hop Card

With the ticketing system in place it also means that Auckland Transport should now be able to focus some of their attention to the actual fare system and in their latest board report they say:

  • Testing of a new AT HOP Day Pass is underway for targeted introduction by April 2014 across bus, rail and ferry. The pass will offer greater flexibility through three separate geographic zones compared with the existing and to be withdrawn paper Discovery Day Pass.
  • Following direction from the December 2013 Board meeting, analysis and finalisation of the two preferred options for integrated fares is underway (5 concentric ring zonal model and 4 concentric ring zonal model + short trip fare), including product and pricing scenarios. The business case is targeted for presentation at the April 2014 Board meeting.

I don’t think either of these two developments can come fast enough (providing they are priced right). My understand is that integrated fares are planned to be introduced at roughly the same time as the new bus network next year however I would really like to see it much sooner and it would be great if it could happen later this year.

Following on from fares, to me the next stage also has to be a focus on getting HOP cards in the hands of more people. This will involve improving  the marketing, price points, availability of the cards along with levels of discount they provide. In addition AT really needs to look at getting the cards introduced to the parking system so people can pay both their on and off street parking with it. Taxi’s and bike hire schemes (if they can be bothered setting a city wide one up) are other avenues they should look in to. At the end of the day the goal should be to have as many people as possible with a HOP card in their hand as that will help to reduce some of the barriers for people to try PT.

For today though, congratulations to AT for finally getting integrated ticketing rolled out.

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  1. Yes, the AT Hop card is a great advance into the 20th century. Now further unify the system by painting all the buses with the same brand identity. I really don’t care who contracts with AT to provide service. I know of no other system that has separate companies displaying their own brands.

    1. Wellington does it, too!

      At least this is getting better. NZ Bus, despite being one company, had four different Auckland brands. They’re starting to downplay that, and painting all of the buses the same colour.

      There’s an upside, though. As long as each bus livery runs on a consistent set of routes, it actually helps people make sense of the system – all the green buses serve the west, all the grey buses serve the south, etc. The main problem with that is the confusion when operational issues mean that you get a North Star bus on a western route, for example.

  2. AT also need to be doing much more to promote monthly passes. These passes are now much more useful than the old monthly passes, with them being able to be used on all bus and rail services in the city. Sometimes the cost of the monthly pass went down, but the access went from one small part of the city, to being able to cover the whole city.
    Getting more people on monthly passes is a great way to drive more public transport patronage, especially in off-peak times, as these trips will effectively become free for monthly pass users, as well as free for AT as not creating demand for new services.

    1. Agree with the core point Luke, that HOP now opens up a more flexible travel lifestyle, but the level of discount is the basic flaw.

      As a train travelling commuter with a busy, varied work schedule, I am losing money if I choose not to use PT more than one or two working days a month (Glen Eden to Britomart 190 monthly vs 50.40 per working week).

      Or, to put it another way, if there is one or more public holiday in the month, you are throwing money away if you buy a monthly pass. That’s a large proportion of the year.

      To be fair, if I use the card at weekends, or for more use in a single day, I’ll be in pocket, but I given the continued risk of weekend shutdowns and lack of off-peak family discounts, I personally am unlikely to do so.

      If we want to promote choice and flexibility the fare structure needs to reflect this. Monthly passes are too restrictively priced and offer too little discount to offer good value when measured this way.

      1. You’d love Melbourne. A weekly pass it exactly the same price as a week’s worth of maximum-fare commuting. In other words, if you commute far across town to work every day, you gain nothing from a weekly pass.

      2. yes the usefulness to individuals does jump up and down a lot. Those close to the border will find them less use, while much better for those in Swanson.
        However that was an issue for previous monthly passes too. However comparing the price of some previous bus passes some people are big winners.

  3. Has anyone looked at dwell time improvements created by HOP? I mean yes, we complain if someone holds things up by paying cash, but surely there is already a relative difference to the “before” scenario?

    1. Dwell time when large numbers exit is certainly slower, but boarding from my experience is massively faster, you really notice how slow it used to be when you sit there waiting for 2 people to pay with cash. It’s easy to forget how everyone used to go through the same process more or less, and how slow that was.

  4. Can anyone explain why Auckland would need 4-5 rings using concentric ring zonal model, when Melbourne has two rings, and Vancouver has 3 zones.

    1. I think our fares may be higher in general, plus 4-5 rings covers all of the region not just the urban area.

      1. Higher fares (aka gouging for a crap service) is no reason to continue the situation with an excessively-complex zonal model. Especially since the fares need to come down a lot to really attract people to use PT.

    2. To avoid having large fares, or excessive fare caps. Melbourne has only two levels of pricing to cover an urban area three times that of Auckland. The zone 1 fare is $3.58, for any trip. Effectively that means people who travel short distances greatly subsidise those who travel very long distances.

      If we have four or five rings then the base fare within one zone would be about the same as an existing one stage fare. If we had one zone then the base fare would have to be about the same as a five or six stage fare.

      1. > people who travel short distances greatly subsidise those who travel very long distances

        [citation needed], as they say. What’s the model here? The train or bus is going to travel the whole length of the route, either way. You don’t impose a lower cost just because you only ride for part of the route. And if the whole route was shorter, the long-distance travellers wouldn’t be on board at all, and the short-distance travellers would have to make up that cost.

        In fact, saying that short-distance travellers subsidise long-distance travellers is an argument against zonal fares entirely. People who make a connection require two buses to make their trip – by that logic, they should be paying more, not getting a subsidy from people who get where they’re going using just one bus.

        Maybe we should avoid using the word “subsidy”, since it’s basically impossible to define in a way that makes sense.

        There’s two real models for pricing. One is looking at the competition, mostly driving, which suggests pricing should only go up slightly as distances increase – since the cost of driving is mostly fixed costs.

        The other model is the value you get from the trip (or the similar willingness-to-pay), which again doesn’t link to distance: presumably someone going from Glen Eden to the CBD gets roughly the same value from that trip as someone coming from Mount Albert.

        1. The idea of strict distance-based fares only really works if you’ve got a very frequent route, with most travellers going to an anchor at one end, where you can run lots of short-run services that terminate at different points. Otherwise, distance isn’t strongly related to cost.

          I suppose it also makes sense for very short trips, where walking (and cycling, where that’s competitive), provide competition.

        2. Steve, the bus may be travelling the whole route but the cost of your use changes whether it is long or short. Put it this way, one bus and driver can deliver one bus load of people thirty kilometres in an hour, or ten bus loads of people three kilometres in an hour. Or to put it another way, to move a thousand people ten kilometres in an hour takes ten times the number of buses and drivers as it does to move a thousand people one kilometre.

          Or let’s think in other terms, the cost of a bus covering one run of the 881 route from Torbay to the city and back to Torbay is the same as the Inner link looping around the inner city eight times, and the link would turnover more than twice per run. One bus load of capacity rom Torbay to the city costs the same to deliver As sixteen bus loads of short trips on the link. Longer trips are simply more expensive to deliver than shorter ones.

          You are right that the bus is running to the end anyway, but if it were not running to the end it could be doing something else. It costs the same to deliver whether it is full or empty, and whether one person rides the seat for one long trip or if ten people use the seat in the same time.

          I don’t follow your reasoning on one bus trip versus two, why would that be any different? Two buses operating the full length of a route cost exactly the same as a single bus doing half the route each and the passengers transferring in the middle. Same capacity, same delivery cost, same cost per passenger, and it should be the same fare.

          Short distance trips subsidise long distance ones when you have a flat fare, which is the same as having a single zone. If one five minute trip on the inner link costs the same as an hour trip out of Torbay then the link trip pays too much and the Torbay to little (assuming the fare is about the average cost).

          Multiple zones mean that you can still have the benefits of unlimited transfers to complete a journey while greatly reducing the cross subsidy. The link traveller pays a one zone fare while the Torbay traveller pays four zones, and each travels as much as they need to within their group of zones. This has implications for the caps, it means that the caps can be related to the cost of the users travel rather that the longest trip on the network. For example, a one zone cap might be $4, two trips on the link and you can keep travelling on it for free. whilee the daily cap for four zones might be $11, two trips from Torbay and you can keep travelling between Torbay and town for free. Without zones to set the caps in what do you do? Set the cap at $4 so the trip from Torbay is incredibly cheap, or set it at $11 meaning the link user can ride five times before reaching it?

        3. > the cost of your use changes whether it is long or short. Put it this way, one bus and driver can deliver one bus load of people thirty kilometres in an hour, or ten bus loads of people three kilometres in an hour.

          The cost of your use changes whether the whole route is long or short. The bus isn’t cheaper to run simply because you aren’t on it for part of the way – it becomes cheaper to run if the whole route itself is shorter. If you’ve got enough demand that you can run a frequent service that stops short, and another frequent service that runs for a longer distance – well, then you can say the short distance travellers cost less. But most of the time that’s not true, and the short distance travellers only get a bus at all because there’s also long-distance travellers bringing the numbers up to the point where a single service is worthwhile. Often the short distance travellers get a double benefit, if there’s multiple long distance routes that add together to give them a higher frequency of service (Great North Road is an excellent example).

          > Or let’s think in other terms, the cost of a bus covering one run of the 881 route from Torbay to the city and back to Torbay is the same as the Inner link looping around the inner city eight times,

          But the 881 isn’t cheaper to run because you personally get on at Akoranga instead of Torbay. Even if costs were dependent on how far individual travellers went on particular services (which they mostly don’t) , your argument supports the idea of a separate fare for each service rather than zonal fares. The Inner Link would be one price, and the 881 would be a higher price (wherever you got on).

          But we have zonal fares because we treat the whole system as a network that provides a general benefit, not trying to meaninglessly assign costs to individuals.

          > but if it were not running to the end it could be doing something else

          Only at the cost of losing all the passengers who are going to the end. Now you’ve got a cheaper service – but fewer passengers, too. It’ll depend on the characteristics of the route whether that reduces, keeps constant, or even increases the cost of the trip per passenger.

          > I don’t follow your reasoning on one bus trip versus two, why would that be any different? Two buses operating the full length of a route

          I was thinking of a more stereotypical transfer, where you change from one service to another heading in a completely different direction, so you travel a longer distance than someone in a direct line between origin and destination.

          I’m not arguing in favour of totally flat fares across Auckland. Obviously, long routes are more costly, especially where you might have a feeder service or two along the way, and having fare zones reflects that. But that doesn’t mean that having five or ten zones is somehow more “fair” than a coarser system. The logical extreme of that would be taxi-style fares where you pay the exact number of metres you travel – hell, it could even depend on how many people were on the bus, since less popular routes are more expensive per person. Which is nuts.

        4. Routes don’t exist independently in a vacuum, they are part of a network that is largely optimised to meet demands (and provide a base level of service everywhere). So indeed if that network is geared up to move people long distances it would cost a lot more than if it only needed to move the same people a shorter distance. It all comes out in the wash and the cost of service delivery increases as trip length increase.

          Your points are valid, but only in the case of routes that run mostly empty. In that case the bus is just going back and forth for coverage reasons and costs don’t change because no one uses it. But in a network where a route fills up more than one bus an hour the costs of delivery are directly related to how many people are going what distance. It costs the same to move one bus seat ten kilometres, but if they seat is used one per run, or three times, or ten times by different passengers greatly changes the cost per passenger.

          In the case of the 881, it is so frequent that if half the passengers were getting on at Akoranga they could turn half the service there rather than run it all out to Torbay. In that case one bus could do the work of five or six to move a given number of people. So no in the one specific case of me getting on at Akoranga the 881 doesn’t get any cheaper to run, but the network overall is cheer to run because people get on at Akoranga instead of all getting on at the end of the line.

          This is precisely how the new network works, it shortens most routes into cheap to deliver short feeders so that they can fill up trunk routes covering long distance. In a well optimised situation service delivery cost approximates passenger miles.

          I don’t agree with a distance based system, because it penalises transfers for the reasons you mention, and also because it charges marginal trips at exactly the same price as your first trip, regardless of the value or willingness to pay.

          But a flat fare doesn’t work either, there the people travelling on the bus from Torbay to town pay the same as those travelling from Torbay to browns bay, even though the former costs ten times as much to deliver.

          A zone system is the best compromise, people pay a fee for access to the PT network and can navigate it for the same price regardless of the number of lines they need to use or where the connections happen to occur. However this is tempered by a broader geographic level where if your trip takes you a longer distance (and longer time, generally)you pay more accordingly. The trick is to have enough zones that the fare changes aren’t too lumpy, but not too many that you lose the unlimited travel inside the zone benefits by constantly crossing zone boundaries. Reductio ad absurdum doesn’t prove much when you’re looking for the happy medium.

          If we had only two zones like Melbourne then the base fare would need to be about $5 to make even the shortest distance trip. With about five zones the single zone base fare could be more like $2 for the short local trip within one zone. That’s where the fairness comes in, at a point where your travel is fairly closely aligned with the amount of resource it occupies, but not to the point where you penalise people based on the foibles and intricacies of the network.

    3. Or just get rid of zones entirely – London doesn’t use zones for its bus services. Single bus trip costs $2.80, and there’s a daily price cap of $8.50. Makes life far simpler when not having to fuss about zones…

    1. Because the Airbus Express is a fully commercial service. It doesn’t get any subsidy from AT/AC unlike other bus and train services. And you can’t buy return HOP tickets, only one way so therefore cost will be $32 for HOP if you use it both ways. Hopefully something will get settled for the latter situation so that at least people can travel return for the $28 price.

  5. In addition AT really needs to look at getting the cards introduced to the parking system so people can pay both their on and off street parking with it. Taxi’s and bike hire schemes (if they can be bothered setting a city wide one up) are other avenues they should look in to. At the end of the day the goal should be to have as many people as possible with a HOP card in their hand as that will help to reduce some of the barriers for people to try PT.

    AT have been quite clear that they do not currently intend to use HOP as a micro payment system (for parking, taxis etc),

    Maybe they will apply for a new IRD ruling in 2015( when the current one expires) but when they asked IRD in 2012 for a ruling on how to treat HOP transactions for GST , they were very clear it would only be used for products in the “Auckland’s Integrated Fares System”

    Sure they can ask for something different in the future, but currently they have their hands tied until at least June 2015.

    See this thread for more details


  6. Help wanted:

    Group Manager – AT Hop

    We are seeking a strategic leader to take accountability for developing world class transport solutions for the AT HOP system, including responsibility for the capital programming function, project management, technical procurement, contract management, risk management, internal auditing, compliance and implementation of business required upgrades. The Group Manager AT HOP will also be a role model and champion of customer service within Auckland Transport.


  7. How hard would it be to add capped fares from April 1st?

    Surely this would encourage use, Sydney already have fare caps on their card from day one, they have just started rolling it out.

    1. Not hard, but under the current contracts I believe AT would be required to simply pay the operator for all trips above the cap, so it would represent a big whack in the budget.

      I wonder however if they can make the cards default to the discovery day pass as a de facto cap. That’s still too high to be much use to most people, but better than nothing I suppose.

      1. This makes sense, however isn’t the system set-up to pay subsidies for the less used routes while the high patronage routes the bus companies keep the majority of the profits? In this case adding a fare cap would still make sense. The fare cap prices over the ditch seem to usually be the equivalent of two to three average PT trips, e.g. One to work and one home (peak time). The majority of users would fall into this category anyway. Through this theory I would assume most of the extra trips would be inter-peak, which are already subsidised services? Therefore the actual cost would be minimal as it would come out of the operators subsidy (no extra on what they already get). Even with new users that are encouraged to use the system I would assume their extra trips above the standard quo would be out of the subsidised routes anyway?

        Obviously I’m not cued up on the contract arrangements and am purely looking at this from a logical aspect, which not many systems are logically setup I know.

        I would expect it to cost AT a little extra, but not significant enough to not proceed.

        Thoughts, do you know how their contracts setup or just assuming as well?

        1. Not forgetting that AT is required by the government to meet a 50% farebox recovery ratio, so even if they wanted to, the proposed policy above may run foul of National legislation’s which has the intent of nobbling anything to make PT affordable.

  8. AT also did a miserable job of communicating the deadline for transferring money off H&E cards. I went into Britomart last Wednesday to get my balance transferred over, only to be told I’d missed the deadline by two days. I’d been on the Maxx site several times in the preceding weeks and seen precisely zero notice. I got spammed to death before the bastard purple SNOP could no longer be transferred, but nothing to AT HOP users about any other cards.

    Utterly, utterly useless. Even something as simple as sending emails to all registered users appears to be beyond the comprehension or capability of AT’s communications team.

  9. Technically I think HOP card is a success – it’s fast and easy to use and I must say respect and kudos to the project team.

    But the value for money is poor; monthly passes are outlandishly expensive (nearly $200 just for a 10-minute ferry trip and connecting buses/trains?) and it should at least have matched what the old Northern Pass used to do with integrated ticketing and no multiple fares for the same trip. Good point Josh on capping fares to say $5 a day – there’s no great impediment to setting a daily cap.

    1. again depends on where you are. AT HOP much better for those in Albany but worse for those in Takapuna, because they weirdly have included all of the North Shore in Zone B. However these zones are transitional until they figure out integrated ticketing.
      Of course should also mention North Shore was only area to have an integrated pass like the Northern Pass, nothing like it anywhere else.
      Ideally should have been rolled out city wide 5 plus years ago, but oh well.

    1. Holding fares constant in real terms as patronage grows is a better model I think. Additional fare revenue should be reinvested in lowering fares for select price sensitive people/journeys.

      1. Auckland PT fares are already extremely high. We’re a low-wage developed economy. Holding fares constant in nominal terms might be reasonable for the next couple of years, but holding them constant in real terms means they continue to be excessive relative to incomes and in comparison to other cities. The maths gets far, far, far worse when one considers the situations for more than one person making the same journey off-peak. It’s nearly $13 for my partner and I to do public transport return from Ellerslie to the CBD, nearly $8 to do it from Ellerslie to Onehunga. There is no competition to that pricing against driving, even if we have to pay $8 to park in the CBD (and parking is free in Onehunga).

        1. that is why best not to reduce fares overall but to target them. I suspect with new few zones CBD trip prices will become comparatively more expensive than non CBD trips. So should see discount on Ellerslie Onehunga which will be 1 zone, but static on Ellerslie CBD which will be 2 zones.

        2. I’d disagree with the statement they’re extremely high. They are on the upper side of average, with average fare paid per passenger comparable to similar sized Canadian cities.

          Now of course those cities have higher quality PT networks. But to me that suggests we should invest in improving the quality of the system (i.e. CAPEX) rather than increasing operating subsidies (i.e. OPEX).

        3. Actually, Auckland second behind Wellington, Wellington thanks to the politicians has the highest medium wage in the country.

          Of course internationally our country has the 7th highest minimum wage world wide. So I would argue that compared to other cities we are not really a low-wage developed economy.

        4. NZ ranks 20/36 in the OECD for “adjusted net household disposable income”, which is a mean figure not a median and skewed by our quite significant income inequality:

          In New Zealand, the average net adjusted disposable income of the top 20% of the population is an estimated 43 498 USD a year, whereas the bottom 20% live on an estimated 8 528 USD a year. (source)

  10. I was talking to a retailer over here in the Howick and Eastern zone about whether they would offer ATHop top ups, since they had done for H&E’s own cards. They basically told me that it wasn’t worth it to them, because 1/ It would cost them to install ATs point of sale system, 2/ AT required that they do their banking everyday – thus costing them time and money, 3/ they would have to ‘sell’ a minimum value worth of top-ups before they got any commission at all, 4/ the commission they would get was 5/8 of bugger all in the first place and 5 /they had to wear AT branded clothing. Seems to me like AT are under the misapprehension that the process of their customers getting top-ups is solely about being an AT profit centre, rather than an actual public or customer service first and foremost. There are two AT hop retailers between Highland Park and Botany… at the moment I top-up my card at Britomart, but the machines there have been so often out-of-service it is an absolute joke. Compared to topping up my previous H&E card, AT Hop is a right PITA.

    1. While I agree that the huge lack of topup locations is ridiculous, I’ve been enjoying the auto topup feature.

      Not having to ever worry about my balance is really very good, and one area where hop is noticeably better than my experience with overseas systems. Although admittedly, in other countries topup machines are littered all over the place, so perhaps autotopup existed and I never noticed.

      1. As others have observed, auto-top up is only good if you have sufficient income to always have funds available with which to cover the automatic deduction. Many users of public transport do not.

        1. True.

          But I suspect there are still a large number of people who could afford autotopup and simply don’t know about it, and if they did we’d probably see fewer complaints.

          This doesn’t negate the need for plenty of manual topup locations everywhere. Even having them more visible to the public will help in uptake of the system.

        2. You can set the auto top up as low as you like, you could make it the price of a single stage fare even so it deducts each )discounted) fare as and when you use it.

          I’m not sure about that argument in that context, it’s simply saying that some people can’t afford to pay a fare. They may be true enough but it’s the same no matter how they pay.

        3. In fact, auto topup gives you another very slight advantage financially, since you don’t need the cash up front – you pay at least a day in arrears.

          The problem with auto topup isn’t how it works normally, it’s the huge consequences if this ever goes wrong. If you don’t have cash, you know that in advance. With prepay Hop, you’ll get a “insufficient funds” message.

          But if you fail auto topup, you don’t know what’s going to happen – big dishonour fees? Expensive overdraft? Or you could always get your card permanently cancelled by AT, your remaining credit brazenly stolen, and required to buy a new Hop at your own expense.

          It also requires you to have a credit card, or trust AT with a direct debit authority.

        4. Steve nails it. It’s the costly consequences of it going wrong that make it non-viable for people whose incomes aren’t high enough to provide them a buffer (and who don’t have credit cards). Having a credit card isn’t necessarily an answer either, since you’re likely not paying it off all at once so you’re paying interest on every auto-top up too.

          Stop thinking in your comfortable, middle-class terms and start thinking from the perspective of someone who is lucky to have $5 left over at the end of a pay cycle. When you’re living hand-to-mouth, you are not going to be certain about having the funds available to successfully top up your HOP card which means you’ll probably not do an auto-top up at all because the costs of it failing can be really huge.

        5. If someone is lucky to have $5 left over at the end of a pay cycle then how are they going to pay for a bus fare, regardless of the mechanism of payment? If you can’t have certainty of funds to pay for one fare by auto top up then why would you have the same for any other means of paying?

          We cant design a transit system around the the very specific needs of the most vulnerable and impoverished citizens, just like we shouldn’t try and design transit to attract the richest elite. We need to aim for the middle 80% and design fare systems and network that work for them.

          The bottom 10% should be targeted directly by other means, for example a gold card style subsidy for free fares for people with community services cards, or heavily discounted annual passes for tertiary students that can be paid for by student loan. The top 10% we can leave to their audis or paying full fares when it suits them.

        6. They’re possibly not going to pay for bus fare, but at least they know they can’t. Or they might put the cash onto their HOP card at a machine (with the infuriating, inexplicable associated penalty cost. And don’t you dare say “But it’s only 25 cents”!) so at least they can’t spend it on anything else, if they’re lucky enough to be near a machine, which is far from certain.

          Your obsession with how easy it apparently is to use auto-top up means you’ve missed the point initially made, which is that it’s currently made incredibly difficult for people who have limited budget flexibility to put money onto a HOP card. And while that persists, people will continue to use cash.

  11. Good on Auckland, one thing you have beat us to in Sydney. Can’t really understand all the complaints about lack of ticketing machines and sales shops. Ever since I got my opal card a few weeks ago, have never had to buy a ticket since which has been the best thing ever, and that would be the same for most people here. It’s just so much easier to log onto the website and top up using your debit/credit card. Surely this makes loads of ticket offices around the place redundant?

    1. I agree, I have an auto top up on my card such that $20 is added whenever it drops below $10, means I never have to worry about running out of money on it or topping it up. I simply know it will always have money on it. Really made a huge difference being able to hop on a bus, train, ferry etc and not have to explain to the driver or ticket checker how far I am going so they can calculate the fare. Welcome to the present Auckland, you’ve been stuck in the past for too long.

  12. Being a regular on buses running up Symonds Street the HOP card has been amazing, I no longer have to let H&E buses past whilst waiting for a NZBus run route. The previous system basically resulted in customer lock-in. I’m quite sure bus companies like Ritchies, H&E and Urban Express etc will have seen more people catching their buses, especially when the general standard of NZBus’ fleet is pretty poor. The buses they have running South Auckland routes are absolutely awful. Being able to ignore then and catch the newer air conditioned H&E bus has been great.

  13. The monthly pass idea needs to change from pre-purchasing unlimited travel for a time period, to pre-purchasing x many unlimited day passes.
    IE, a “monthly” pass should give you unlimited travel for 22 days (average number of work days in a month) of your choosing with no expiry. Use the days when suits. Work from home for a week and not be penalised. Students have a holiday period in the month, no problem.

    I’ve looked into the monthly $190 pass, and cash was a better alternative as it didn’t penalise me if I didn’t use PT for a day in the month.

    On the other hand, kudos to AT for having flexible start dates for the monthly pass. IE it starts from the day you purchase it, not from the 1st of the month.

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