Auckland Transport have announced the results of the latest public transport fare review and its good. What’s more they appear to be addressing or working towards addressing many of the issues we have raised in the past.

Auckland Transport has completed its Annual Fare Review which sees ticket prices on buses, trains and ferries change from July 6. From that date adults who use the AT HOP card for their travel will receive a 20% discount off the single trip adult cash fare (excluding NiteRider, Airbus Express and Waiheke ferry services). Child and tertiary AT HOP users will also continue to receive discounts on most services, when compared to the equivalent cash fares. In contrast most cash fares for bus and train and some cash fares for ferry will increase (some AT HOP fares for ferries will also increase).

Auckland Transport Chief Executive David Warburton says the annual review takes into account operator cost increases (e.g. fuel and wages), revenue and patronage movements. He adds that Auckland Transport is also undertaking a strategic review of all public transport costs and pricing, due to be completed towards the end of the year. “Public transport must be seen as a viable alternative to the car if Auckland is to even begin to resolve its transport problems”, he says. “By making travel even more attractive on the AT HOP card we are hoping more people will switch to public transport.”

In March there was a jump in the number of people using public transport in Auckland with 7.3 million trips, an increase of 3.9% on March last year. The financial year to March also saw strong growth overall with just over 71 million trips.

In addition to an increased discount on AT HOP Auckland Transport will remove the 25 cent top-up fee and reduce the minimum top-up amount on the card from $10 to $5, both from July 6. The card itself will also remain at $5 until at least 31 January 2015.

From July 6 when the new fares are implemented, cash fares will be in 50 cent multiples which will reduce cash handling on buses in particular (with the exception of the City LINK child cash fare which will remain at 30 cents). Mr Warburton has also signalled that Auckland Transport hopes to move to implementing an exact fare/no change given policy in the future and will investigate the potential of removing cash fares altogether, as has recently been introduced in Sydney.

Here’s what’s happening with adult bus and train fares

July 2014 Fare changes

Overall I think this is a very good move by AT. By raising the cash fares but also increasing the HOP discount it does two things.

  1. It increases the differential between cash and HOP fares which will help make HOP more attractive. More people using HOP is good, particularly for buses as it speeds up boarding time.
  2. Over 60% of all trips now take place using HOP, that means for the majority of PT users these changes will actually represent a decrease in fares.

That second point is important as I’m not sure if we’ve ever seen an actual fare decrease before – although AT’s transport indicators show that fares had been reducing due to inflation for some time.

Change in the 1-5 stage bus cash fares in 2013 prices over time. The HOP fares (dotted line) show the equivalent HOP fares. The HOP stage 1 bus fare is equivalent to the 2004 stage 1 cash fare and for other stages is cheaper than the 2004 cash fares. (Nominal fares are adjusted based on CPI index to provide their relative cost in real terms)

Fares compared to inflation

The one mode that has bucked the trend has been ferry fares which mostly seem to be going up which is probably a symptom of the more commercial nature of ferries.

It will certainly be interesting to see what these change do to patronage. One thing I do wonder though is what the impact on revenue is from the change to HOP fares. Could the difference have been used to provide additional services and would those deliver more patronage growth than what this fare change will deliver?

The one issue I have seen people not as happy about is the ferry fares which mostly seem to be going up. I also like how the cash fares are being rounded to a multiple of 50c which should hopefully help speed up the issuing of change on buses. I’m also sure that people will like the removal of the top up fee, the reduction of the minimum top up amount and the reduce prices of HOP cards – although none of them actually bothered me.

I also like how AT have signalled future changes to further speed up buses by eventually implementing an exact change/no change given policy or potentially removing cash fares altogether. The exact/no change idea is something that I imagine could be fairly easy to implement providing the communications around it are clear. HOP only is probably a little more difficult but perhaps something that could be done on selected services. In my mind perhaps start with the Northern Express and eventually work towards at least the entire frequent network being HOP only.

All up some good changes from AT and ones that should encourage both greater use of HOP and hopefully more patronage too. This should probably be the last fare change before we get integrated ticketing some time next year.

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  1. If they remove all cash fares from all bus services, the HOP card prices will increase to the old cash fare prices as there can be no discount. Only Northern express and other frequent bus services such as express services can be made HOP only without investing in HOP/paper ticket machines at major bus stops or new HOP retailers not serviced by an existing HOP retailer or transport centre.By the way what happened to the HOP daily pass trial?

    1. Graeme why would HOP fares have to increase to cash fare prices. It seems to me as if the “discount” is actually just how it’s being phrased but that in reality it’s that the HOP price is the true PT price and the cash fare is after that. Also by the time we’re talking about removing cash completely we will have integrated fares which will change everything anyway.

      Yes we would have to invest in a network of ticket machines for the bus network but that’s not such a bad thing anyway. The savings from not having to deal with people paying cash on buses would probably make it a viable proposition.

      1. Matt and Graeme, why would we have to invest in ticket machines and have fare increases? I travel to London for work and have a registered Oyster card so get updates from Transport for London. Next month they will remove cash fares completely from all bus services. Oyster card will be required. If you have insufficient left on your card you will be able to ride once but then need to top up. They are also offering the alternative of using your contactless money card (paywave etc) to board the buses and the price is the same as an Oyster card single trip fare. Aucklanders need to get into their heads that eventually paper tickets will not be used rather than building additional infrastructure for them. After all Melbourne has moved in that direction on their trams as well.

          1. When I was in London the cash fare was double the oyster fare. That’s a pretty good way of phasing out cash!

          2. Graeme, a major exaggeration to say most Melbourne tram stops have topup machines. In the city centre a number of them do but I have not seen any at all the suburban street stops I have used this year and last. And of course Myki has a huge advantage of AT HOP in that you can take the tram, swap to the train and then take a bus to complete your journey (like I do from hawthorn to the airport) and you only get charged one fare. The incentive to optimise HOP usage will come when we get integrated fares in Auckland.

        1. London can phase out cash because they only have about 2% of fares paid for by cash. In Auckland it’s more like half the users, and in some areas stations have almost everyone paying by cash. Getting rid of the cash option in Auckland will reduce PT use significantly.

          1. I think that saying that removing cash fares will significantly reduce PT usage is a bit of a stretch. Will it have an effect yes, but the real question would be what is that effect going to be?

            I believe that some people would hasten the transition to HOP and some people would chose other alternatives, either PT based or through another channel.

            I’m working in Sydney at the moment and there are a number of people who have stuck with paper tickets, even though the electronic ticketing roll out includes all train services, but has yet to be on all buses, which has lead to more noticeable marketing for the electronic ticketing solution (Opal).

            I think the progressive approach to move to cashless travel that I’m sensing in Auckland is a much better idea and as further improvements like integrated ticketing roll out, more and more people will make the switch.

          2. The majority – 61% – pay with HOP not cash. Yes eliminating cash fares today would be a bad idea, but that’s why the fare differential is being changed to further increase HOP take-up.

  2. They really need to strengthen the HOP infrastructure though (eg gated platforms, better reliability) since pushing more people to use HOP is going to out more strain on an already struggling system.

    1. Geoff, it’s not the minimum balance they’re decreasing. They’re decreasing the minimum top-ups. You can only top up by $10 or more right now, but from next month it’ll be $5 or more for topups.

      1. I think it is good that they reduce the minimum top up amount if they really want low income users to use it. $5 or $10 may not seem like much to full time workers, but to students, unemployed, pensioners or anyone who earns very little, $10 could be a lot. It would help move people to HOP in South Auckland who might otherwise use cash. I hope they publicise it well so people actually know.

        1. So all South Auckland residents are poor or alternatively all the poor live in South Auckland? Both arguments are false.

      2. My Yes I know, and my minimum top up has always been $4, although I just checked it now, and note that it’s been reduced to $1. I can top up by any amount between $1 and $280.

        So if there are cards with a $10 minimum top up, they must be newer or different in some way from mine.

        1. The minimum top-up is currently $10 at every location except automated ticket machines which have always been $1. Kiosks and retailers have a $10 rule right now which I have always found pretty dumb and you can usually argue with them and get them to do it anyway, as its more of a “policy” than a limitation, I don’t know why its in place when the automated machines have a minimum of $1 perhaps its to reduce queues or such. I’m glad to see its reduced to $5 but still think it could go down to $1 as to be consistent and to prevent people getting stuck when not necessary, snapper had zero limitation, you could even top up in $0.10 multiples totaling as little as $0.30 (which would be $0.30-$0.25=$0.05 balance increase). I’ve found this very useful especially back when I was a student, once I took a bus to downtown from te atatu (048) to get a bus to papakura (472) just before midnight, I miscalculated and ended up with a -$0.01 balance, I forgot my wallet but had $0.50 in my pocket, took it to the local subway fix which had a snapper terminal and topped up $0.50, got on my bus and went on my way, that could of gone a lot differently if it was the days of AT hop.

          1. As I say, the minimum top up level on my card has always been $4, but it is now $1. So this reduction on other people’s cards from $10 to $5 isn’t something that will affect me. I wasn’t aware others had a higher level.

          2. Geoff, you are talking about minimum top up level, this article quotes minimum top up amount. When you add money to a card you must add at least $5, but you can board PT with a balance as low as $0.01

          3. “Geoff, you are talking about minimum top up level, this article quotes minimum top up amount. When you add money to a card you must add at least $5”

            No, the minimum top up amount on my card is $1. It was previously $4.

            To be clear – if I have a balance of $22, I can add $1, taking the balance to $23.

  3. BTW, the new lower AT HOP fares are actually the original AT HOP fares. For example the 1 stage was $1.60, raised to $1.62 a few months ago, and now being returned to $1.60. So an end to a temporary increase, rather than a discount as such.

    1. does that apply to all stages? Or just stage 1? Which gets the smallest decrease? HOP fares for other stages seem to decrease by a much greater margin, in which case it’s still fair to say that HOP fares decrease.

      I suspect, Mr Blackmore, you are being unnecessarily negative. Why am I not surprised …

  4. Going to no change or HOP only would be a risky move as it may put off new/casual users. You’d need a much better network of places selling or topping up the Hop Cards before even considering it.

    1. Making the cash fare a Lot higher than hop is the best way forward. It’s ok when one or two tourists or casual users pay cash, but at the moments it’s more like every second person including regular users.

  5. HOP only is probably a little more difficult but perhaps something that could be done on selected services.

    Not really and it would be best to do the whole service at the same time. Just have to tell everyone that at a certain date in the future cash will no longer be accepted. Have the advertising telling people how much cheaper HOP is over that time period to encourage people to get a HOP card.

    The only real problem with not accepting cash at all would be tourists and that could be easily handled if the government was real smart and set national standards for these cards so that they could be used everywhere. Then when the tourists come in we just give them a card.

    Wouldn’t take long before we became a fully cashless society.

    1. I don’t think not taking cash, or not giving change would be a problem for tourists. It is the norm in many places in the world. Italian buses often need prepaid tickets bought at a tobacconist or shop, Spanish buses require exact change (i think0 as do US ones. Tourists just accept what the local norm is, as tourists do everywhere.

  6. Yay AT have finally done something to improve the bus system after 4 years of doing nothing. Only complaint is 1 stage is too cheap, double the price for 2 stage is pretty unfair and encourages driving to closer bus stops

      1. It should have in theory increased to $3.20, just be thankful they still decreased the 2 stage hop fare. Very unlike them

  7. Studies of overseas transitions from cash to card conclude that a 15% price difference is the key threshold for incentivising the switch. So very good that AT have started with 20. In general there is a bell curve pattern to this kind of change. So already at 60% uptake AT are well past the Early Adopters and Early Majority, and the Late Majority are moving now, hopefully this pricing, with some good comms, will capture all of that group. Then there are the Laggards; those resistant to any change. They generally need more forceful incentivising but the time for that is once uptake is in the mid 80% range. Standard distribution:

    1. in other words uptake of a new service/technology follows a logistics curve (i.e. plot this curve in a cumulative form)? Nothing particularly new there …

      But I do agree that the most appropriate way to move to a cashless system is by incrementally adjusting the system to support higher and higher HOP card uptake. At some point (say 90% card uptake) you”ll cross a threshold where there’s more patronage/revenue saved from removing cash than there is to be gained from retaining it.

  8. What is sad is they have rounded some fares not to the nearest dollar, but the nearest higher 50c. Take for example my bus from constellation station to town, it cost $4.50 –> rounded to $5? Why not keep it at $4.5 and give a 20% discount on that? This is essentially robbing Paul AND Peter to pay AT. It’s not good enough, I don’t care about the 5 cents I have gained. Wow 10 cents a day in savings, 50 cents a week. Utterly disappointed.

    1. I think you’re missing the point, the cash fares have increased to make more people use HOP. The HOP fares have all decreased a small amount, but the main point of this exercise was to encourage the remaining people paying cash to switch to HOP. This has time savings for everyone.

    2. I don’t think your complaint is “fare”. Cash fares had to increase across the board to fund an across the board reduction in HOP fares. As noted by others the solution (if you are price sensitive) is to get a HOP card.

      1. If the HOP discounts are funded by cash fares, then you’ll obviously have to raise HOP fares as fewer people pay cash. So if you want the fares to stay fairly cheap, you’ll be wanting a good number of cash payers to fund it.

        I say fairly cheap, because Auckland doesn’t actually have cheap PT. It’s about 400% more expensive than most other places in NZ. Must be those economies of scale you keep claiming cities offer!

        1. don’t follow your argument at all and PT in Auckland is not 400% more expensive than other places in NZ. That’s a load of crap.

          If you want fares to stay low then the best way forward to simply want to get lots of people using PT, and for them to pay for it in an efficient manner. Cash is not efficient because 1) it costs a lot to handle/administer; 2) slows buses down; and 3) requires extra staff onboard trains and at gated stations. In the medium to long run (i.e. once capital costs are amortized) HOP is significantly cheaper *per transaction* and raises revenue, both because people use PT more and you earn interest on the float.

          1. Yes, Auckland is far more expensive. In Hawke’s Bay for example, a 2-zone pass (which covers the entire Napier-Hastings-Havelock North area) is only $4.07. That’s Albany-Britomart-Albany, or Papakura-Britomart-Papakura for $4.07.

            Browse the PT fares for other towns and cities throughout NZ Stu, you’ll be amazed how low the fares are in comparison to Auckland. Also, compare Auckland to the large Australian cities – I can assure you, Auckland is highly priced when it comes to PT.

            I disagree that cash requires more staff. Look at London – far more staff intensive operations than Auckland, especially with security. Auckland already had a low staff network in comparison to most international urban rail networks, with fewer staff per train than London. It’s not just onboard staff that keep a network running Stu.

          2. Napier to Hastings is a similar distance to Albany to Britomart, the costs in Auckland will be $6 with cash or $4.80 with HOP, in Hawkes Bay it is $5.20 with cash, or $4.07 with a smart card.

            That is not 400% more expensive, it is roughly 20% per service kilometre.

  9. AT should really be installing the same correct change only machines they use in North America, passengers drop in the money and board, no need for the driver to handle cash or give change. Simplifies the process for everyone and removes the driver having to carry around a drawer full of cash.

    1. agreed. I suspect that’d be part of a shift to a no change given system. Really improves driver security too …

  10. Good move. For buses they should move to hop or prepurchasd tickets only at busy stops. That way they can slowly roll out ticketing machines.

    Or are ticket machines just wasted infrastructure?

      1. I would love to see them trial this. Sunnynook for example would be very easy indeed to gate. Constellation could also be very easy.

      2. Don’t even need to gate potentially, just tag posts and hop machines. Then it is simply like any rail station, no tickets on the bus, either use hop or pre purchase a ticket from the machine or counter.

  11. Very good move esp the 25c fee, the 5$ topup and new card cost. Next step I think should be making the hop card refundable to make it more appealing to tourists and casuals.

  12. Overall, I think a very good move from AT. In this day and age of ever increasing prices for everything, it’s pleasing to see some prices for fares actually decreasing even if only by a marginal amount, it’s still a decrease nonetheless. I do suspect however that the way they can fund this is due to substantial increase in cash fares, again another good thing.
    One thing I think they could look at for cashless services to begin with, is to make EVERY outbound city service hop/prepay only. This already happens in the Sydney and Parramatta CBDs (and possibly other areas I`m unaware of). This would substantially improve boarding speeds at peak times, especially the evening peak. It should be fairly easy to do this in the CBD as there are plenty of retailers and Britomart where people can buy tickets without walking for miles. In the suburbs though, that might be a different story………But start with the CBD and see how that goes.

    1. They could go one step further than Sydney, and make the CBD Prepaid zone to include weekends and late services. Currently here it’s only Mon-Fri 7am-7pm. Unlike Sydney, there are plenty of shops around Auckland open till all hours and they’re closer together.

  13. The HOP database should be great for modelling the next round of fare changes to a zone system with free transfers. It would be a really nice project to model a range of fare scenarios using actual HOP data, with a few assumptions such as an increase in transfer passengers. Such modelling could reduce the surprises to total revenue.

    It’s still a pity there’s no family fare. Most of the time people would travel as families would be weekends and school holidays, when there would be spare capacity. For many family trips it would be cheaper to travel by car, but this removes the “training” aspect of family travel, that of showing that PT can be fun and training up the next generation. Suggestions on this board have been for accompanied children to travel free.

  14. Still haven’t fixed the rail transfer inequality. If you travel 5 stages, transferring through britomart, you don’t get to pay 5 stage. You have to pay 2 stage, plus 3 stage, then they “give” you a 50cent discount, but still more expensive than 5 stages. HOP could easily deal with this, so why the rip off? Rail doesn’t deal well with transfer passengers at all.

    1. Because they basically just transferred the old system over onto the card – integrated ticketing is supposed to be coming later, but like the HOP rollout appears to be beset with endless delays.

      1. correction: HOP is integrated ticketing.

        What we’re still waiting for (and is essential) is integrated fares.

    2. I’m pretty sure that for trains, HOP just charges the standard rate for the whole journey — e.g. if you travel Kingsland to Glen Innes you pay for 3 stages (i.e. 1 Kingsland-Britomart plus 2 Britomart to Glen Innes). This is because you tag on at Kingsland and tag off at Glen Innes so HOP just calculates one rate for the whole journey. HOP doesn’t bother splitting it up or so I undestand. However if you are (incorrectly) tagging out of Britomart and tagging back in you’ll be charged a separate fare. It’s an issue on buses though (since you must tag off each service and so a separate fare is calculated) but I benefit from it currently since for my journey to/from work it’s actually cheaper for me to transfer than take a direct service!

  15. Alright, from Stages 1 to 8 the cash fares have increased by a total of 360 cents (45c/average). Perhaps more importantly, Stages 1 to 3 have increased by 80 cents (26c/average).
    From Stages 1 to 8, HOP Fares have dropped by 222 cents (28c/average). More importantly, HOP Stages 1 to 3 have dropped by 18 cents (6c/average).

    If, as stated above, about 60 percent of trips at HOP, and if we hypothesise 90% of trips are Stages 1 to 3, then this sort of move will actually see increased revenue, not less revenue, unless there is resultant behavioural change.

    *Personally* I would have thought if you are increasing cash fares you’d drop Hop by the same amount.
    Has there been any change to the monthly pass?

      1. I have no idea what effect inflation has on AT’s cost structure (fuel, buses, maintenance, driver costs). I do know bitumen prices spike when oil spikes, but surely that’s a separate part of AT?

    1. but you’re assuming HOP/cash ratio remains constant. If you expect the current trend to continue (i.e. people shift from cash to HOP) then in the medium term it’s likwly to be revenue neutral at best. As Sailor Boy notes, inflation is relevant too – in real terms fares have been dropping.

  16. As the most vocal person on here against the 25 cent top up fee, I am very pleased that AT have listened to my concerns. I guess the OIA I made in March made them realise it was not actually bringing in that much revenue since its inception ( $241K over a few years) and gives HOP a bad image. So it was a nett negative effect on HOP.

    I wonder if they are wipping the discound for inner city buses when transfering from other modes? Currently I pay 40 cents when using a bus in the inner city to get up Hobson Street to my work. Or it is 90 cents without using another service. On the table supplied there was no mention of that?

    Now, let’s get HOP day passes going!

    1. how would you implement a HOP day pass? Say pay for most expensive two trips in a day and thereafter travel for free? Or just kick in at the day rover amount?

      1. I would do it using zones personally, exactly the same as the monthly and the weekly. Days travel for the cost of a return trip, weeks for 4 return trips months for 15.

  17. Christ! How hard can it be to sort out a daily/weekly pass? You could just cap the maximum daily fare – done. You know, like other half decent cities.

    Meanwhile, there remains a woeful lack of retailers actually selling these damn HOP cards. I used to live three stages from Britomart and the closest retailer remains… Britomart. Amateurs.

    1. Auckland Transport decided to cease promoting PT as a means for getting around (i.e., multi-trips) and focus instead of peak time “there and back” trips. The day and family passes were scrapped, which is why PT growth stalled through 2013, as thousands of users found the massive price increases of 200-400% under HOP were no longer price competitive with the car, so ceased using the trains and buses when the passes were withdrawn.

      1. Where do you get this tripe?

        Multi trips are in the loop, family passes for the whole network didn’t exist, even if private companies ran them, do you know what a 200% to 400% price increas means? That means the price going up by 3 to 5x. Are you honestly suggesting that a 4 stage was between $1 and $1.60 before HOP? Are you also suggesting that the extra million trips on trains in the last year aren’t real?

        1. SB, the passes were for the entire network and acted as fare caps. Buses were capped at $10.50 and trains capped at $12.00 or for a family of five $25.00. In some cases, with the pass removed, families had their cost balloon to close to $90.00 for a cross town trip.

          You obviously haven’t seen the patronage stats. Thousadns of customers were lost during 2013 beginning with the introduction of HOP, because the pass users faced massive price increases. Multi-trips by train or bus are no longer price competitive with the car. Look at my weekly Sunday trip between Swanson and Glendowie:

          Pre-HOP options: $10.50 bus or $10.00 petrol in the car to drive.
          Post-HOP options: $22.60 bus or $10.00 petrol in the car to drive.

          And that’s just a simple there and back journey. For people who make multi-journeys getting about the city, the increases were much bigger, with $10.50 turning into $30.00, $40.00 or more. By removing the passes, AT basically made it financially unworthwhile to use PT as a means for getting about, targeting eased pricing for simple there and back journeys that don’t go more than half way across the city only. Thus the huge stall in patronage growth during 2013.

          Bury your head in the sand all you like. HOP made PT use in Auckland much more expensive for many users.

          1. You are outright lying now. Discovery pass was $16. And I refuse to believe that you are regularly making a trip that costs $11 each way. You can get from the Shore to Pukekohe for that with HOP.

  18. I and 80 per cent of Auckland’s public transport users don’t give a stuff about trains. I know folks on here get all moist at the thought of them but for Auckland buses are always going to be the sole PT option for the majority of users.

    Integrated fares (even between buses!) are still just a “dream”, apparently, despite the Council’s ability to force majeure its existing contracts with bus providers (aka growing some balls) and force it on them. But no, softly softly. I guess it doesn’t really hit home when all your staff drive to work. Munchkins.

    But of course, that’s for another time. In the meantime, about three locations around Auckland actually sell HOP cards. FFS! Pathetic. Monthly pass fares were for over two years based on calendar months – again, FFS! How much money did PT users lose in that little example of bureaucratic idiocy. And all after years of WAY ABOVE inflation increases in their cost.

    They still don’t offer daily or weekly caps, all very possible but, you know, requiring brain matter. And they had the temerity to charge for the almighty honour of loading up YOUR HOP card with YOUR money. Tossers.

    And now we’re supposed to cheer because, what, cash fares are rising while it’s as difficult as possible to actually acquire a HOP card? Only in Auckland.

    So fine, get all super supportive of the “progress” Auckland;s making in its PT ticketing shambles. But it’s not progress when they’re only catching up to 1995.

    1. I think you will find that changes once a lot of bus routes are changed in 2016 to be feeders for the train.

      And trains should be highly relevant for the majority of PT users in Auckland. The vast majority of Aucklanders live within three kms of a train, busway or ferry station. That is a 10min bus or cycle ride:

      That is where the growth in PT and cycling in Auckland will come from.

    2. Rather than the expense of ticket machines, Auckland should move toward what Prague has with SMS tickets.

      You just send a text to a number and it texts you back a ticket. When the inspector comes (there are no gates in Prague) you just show him the text. Always worked like clockwork.

      In Auckland I guess you would have to go to the gate (if at a gated station) and show staff? It is a better fit for buses, ferries and trams.

    3. I think what Humpers is pointing out though is still valid. Rather than giving users integrated ticketing Auckland Transport has used its monopoly position to push people into purchasing a debit card. And to push more people into purchasing their debit card they have removed monthly passes that people found convenient and well priced and now to really apply their monopoly position they will gouge people who pay cash.

      1. Monthly passes are still avaliable and they’re the same (if not simalar) price to the old passes. I find the HOP passes much better because previously I would have to pay $190 for a pass on one operator only. Previously I would get NZ Bus passes and avoid the trains and other bus companies (even if it was occassionally more convinent to travel with other operators). Now the HOP passes are the same price and valid for travel on any bus/train operator and my travel times has decreased since I can now travel with the quickest operator (rather than have to travel with NZ Bus even if their service was the slowest option). Can’t see any downside to this really…

        1. James, one downside as usual is for ferry users who are now paying $4.20 for a 1-stage trip that costs $1.60 on bus or train. And if we want to transfer to bus or train at either end then add additional fares again. AT could very easily deduct the same fare using HOP cards at the ferry terminals as they do on buses and trains but instead see fit to increase the cost again. Thanks AT.

      2. We have integrated ticketing. I can now use my one ticket for discounted travel on all modes, and more importantly the monthly pass now covers all operator and modes. It will get even better with integrated fares next year, but it is still far better than the crap arrangements we had previously.

        Good, people who pay cash slow things down majorly and add cash handling costs, which makes the whole operation less efficient and more expensive with poorer utilization of the resources.

        Cash prices should continue to increase until about 95% are not using it. Everyone else should use pre loaded hop, auto top up hop, monthly passes, or prepurchased tickets.

        Cash should be the method of last resort, only for first time users or people caught out.

  19. From the AT Chief Executives report for April:

    Integrated fares: concept 2013; business case 2014; implementation 2Q2015

    48 AT HOP retailers are available across Auckland with retail sales of $1.5 million. A review of the retail network is underway to identify any coverage gaps

    Testing of a new AT HOP Day Pass is underway for targeted introduction by May 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. Existing Discovery Day Pass will remain in market until at least 31st May, to ensure customers still have access to multi-modal travel product.

    See for more details

    1. The same way they do in every European city. Find the place that sells tickets and buy one.

      I have never paid for an urban bus (and certianly never a train or tram) with cash in the whole of Continental Europe. AT is only bringing Auckland into line with the rest of the world.

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