Change is afoot for Auckland Transport’s HOP card with them increasing the price of it but also looking to expand the use of the card.

On the first point, they will increase the cost of buying a card from $5 back to $10 on December 17. This seems like a backwards step given AT need to be encouraging as many people to use HOP as possible. While the vast majority of current PT users are already using HOP a large number of people are still using cash and on buses in particular that can really slow trips down. Figures from AT’s board report show that around 74% of all trips use HOP. There is a bit of variation in HOP use by mode, it is used for around 80% of rail trips, 76% of bus trips but only 27% of ferry trips. There is also likely some variation in use of HOP between weekdays and on weekends and AT have said HOP use on weekdays is more than 80%.

2015-09 - HOP Use

AT also say they think that at $10 the card represents “excellent value” and that a regular customer will pay off the $10 cost in just over a week. This is based on research they’ve done suggesting most customers take about 6 trips per week and travels just two stages per trip. In such a scenario they would save $9 per week and more frequent users or those travelling further would obviously save more.

They also say they think $10 is about right based on the cost of similar cars overseas. As examples they point to Snapper card in Wellington which costs $10, Octopus in Hong Kong at ~NZ$10 (deposit). Outside of transport they cite the example a lost EFTPOS card being around $15, lost credit card around $10.

Another and reason for the change in price is the cost of making the cards. AT say every single card costs them $8.54 to produce and that they have been making up the difference for some time. All up 20,000 new cards are sold each month and in total they’ve sold 680,000. They say the cost of the card covers

  • the card cost and distribution of the cards
  • the cost of sales, including retail agents commission, and the cost of ticketing offices selling the cards
  • back office costs

In response to a few other questions of mine they said:

  • They are investigating the idea of having the purchase price loaded on the card if you register it
  • It is not legally possible under the conditions of carriage to give a HOP card as change for cash payers i.e. if someone hands a driver a $20 note that he gives them a HOP car with $10 loaded and tells them to tag on.
  • They are still investigating the idea of having an NFC option for HOP cards so people can use their phones. This is a shame as they first said they were trialling it over 3 years ago.

The other HOP news is that AT are thinking about extending the use of HOP to access other council services such as the libraries, swimming pools and the zoo. We’ve also known for some time they want to extend it to enable people to pay for parking and I’m aware the NZTA would like to link it in to the toll system – both of which need to happen.

Auckland Transport is considering extending the reach of its $100 million Hop ticketing system to council services such as libraries and swimming pools.

It is also sounding out Aucklanders over whether they would be prepared for information the system collects about them to be shared among council organisations.

Those ideas have been raised with a research panel of Auckland residents, offering them chances to be in the draw for Christmas gift cards for participating in a survey.

A panel member told the Herald the questionnaire had asked “if we’d be happy to use our Hop card to access other Auckland Council services like pools, libraries, rec centres.”

She said panellists were also asked if they would agree to their data being shared across council organisations.

“As a person who refuses to register my Hop card because I hate sharing data, I wasn’t wildly positive about this,” she said.

An Auckland Transport spokesman said the survey, which was supposed to be confidential, was part of “a very high-level, early investigation into the possible use of the Hop card for other council services”.

“This is just at a conceptual level at the moment and may not go anywhere,” he said.

He promised if the proposal were to go further, a full investigation would cover matters including the privacy of Hop card holders, and “opt out” provisions for those not wanting to use it other than for public transport trips.

The spokesman said it was no secret that Auckland Transport was also considering extending Hop card coverage to parking services, although no decisions had been made about that.

I personally think it would be great if AT decided to go ahead with these ideas as it would turn the HOP card from just being a PT card into a ticket to the city. Other than just the convenience of having easier access to places, it would also encourage a lot more people to get HOP cards and thereby reduce one of the barriers to entry for PT.

Of course I’m not holding my breath for any major changes like those suggested to happen soon. Especially given how long it’s taking AT to get integrated fares sorted. Still at least they’re thinking of these options.

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120 comments

  1. backward thinking from AT. they should think: – we lose 3 bucks for every card but we get more fidelized customers, faster boardings and less cash handling – penny pinching without a broad view. sounds like my old boss

    1. In London you can just use any contactless card or Android Pay or Apple Pay, and still get the fare capping benefits of Oyster so long as you stick to one card. So no Oyster card fee is needed.

      This is simpler for customers, and could also avoid the disgraceful treatment of Gold Card users from outside Auckland, who now cannot travel free within Auckland (unless, I assume, they purchase and load a HOP card for their visit).

      Why should travel require people to carry a special card? No other general service does this. Would you expect a shop or your phone company to demand payment by their own brand card or to pay a much higher cash amount? It’s the 21st century, better options exist. Insistence on their HOP card is simply about AT ego and control freakery.

  2. Fine with charging $10 for a card, but have it loaded with $10 credit too. i.e. essentially free for the card to the user and encourages use. Many countries do this.

    1. Do note that your card can go into negative balance for one last trip, which on the most expensive routes (i.e. Waiheke ferry) is actually more than $10.

      So you sort-of get that $10 credit already.

      1. Right. Sure you are. As long as you are a person who is in that special case, AND you are prepared to repeatedly commit fraud.

  3. AT have from the very beginning treated HOP users the wrong way. They seem to think that users *should* be going out of their way to get a HOP and it need not be convenient or easy or cheap to do so. The lack of purchase and top-up points is still a major issue.

    Once we get integrated ticketing (in 2020) users will have more incentive to use HOP, but at the moment it’s just the discount and some convenience – if you can top-up easily, and are someone who remembers to consistently tag off. If you forget to tag off just once or twice a month then you could easily pay much more as a HOP user.

    Contactless payments are a great idea, they just need to get this right. There’s plenty of best practice around the world and AT should be following it.

  4. Boston MA hands out their HOP equivalent for free – buses usually have stacks with the driver and most machines for top ups also have a pile sitting on them.

    Interesting that AT claim they cost that much yet large portion seems to be fixed costs they’d have regardless – ie staff selling them etc.

  5. Or how about this for an idea, just let use people use their contactless credit and debit cards that they already have???? Like in London. No administration. No card clashes. No topping up.

    1. Bad idea for following reasons:
      – Contactless credit/debit card have much slower read times than HOP. It’s probably closer to 2-3 times slower than HOP. And if you don’t think that’s a problem, then go stand at the entrance to a busy train station at peak hour.
      – Contactless credit cards are issued by credit card companies. A certain % of every transaction, say 3%, goes to them rather than to the cost of maintaining HOP system. Unless you’re going to replace entire HOP system with credit cards, which you wouldn’t do for the reason of read times alone, then you’re going to be incurring higher costs.

      The real opportunity is not contactless credit/debit cards, but e-wallets operated via mobile phone. However even these have their read time issues. They didn’t invent PT smartcards for no reason at all! The tech is very sophisticated.

        1. I thought you paid for that? I.e. there was a top-up fee. I could be wrong.

          Also, I’m not sure how they structure their payments, but it could be a fixed fee plus a %, such that a larger number of smaller transactions ended up costing AT more. All depends on what they negotiate with credit card companies of course, but I don’t like AT’s chances of striking a good deal.

      1. Such a bad idea that Transport for London went with it. I think you’re giving them more credit than they deserve in terms of the relative advance in technology. If the idea is to get away from cash payments from people that don’t regularly use PT or tourists who are only here for a day or two this is a no brainer as the uptake already seems much higher than NFC phones etc. There is no reason for it to take 2-3 times longer than any other RF card, any time difference in London was not noticeable. Merchant fees are a non issue as addressed above and even if the actual fee (not 3% by the way) was added back it would be fine with me as it’s made up with rewards from the issuer.
        https://www.londontoolkit.com/briefing/travelcard_oyster.htm

        1. Believe me: Read times for contactless credit cards are slow, i.e. circa 600ms. This 2-3 times what current HOP implementation is (apparently) able to achieve. There’s several reasons why CCC might be slower: Encryption is one, frequency is another. Read up here if you’re interested: http://www.impinj.com/resources/about-rfid/the-different-types-of-rfid-systems/

          Yes, CCC could be made faster, but there may be other trade-offs which is why the CC companies have opted for the config they currently use.

          You seem to be speaking from anecdotal experience? Great, let’s just go with that rather than scientific analysis of the time it takes for a transaction to be completed.

          Next-gen read times for smart cards will be sub 100ms. I don’t think contactless credit cards are evolving to match these speeds. I could be wrong, but until I see evidence that they will keep up with current HOP tech, then you can put me in the skeptic column. Not everything TfL do is the right thing to do …

          1. Are you saying HOP is 200ms? Seems more like 2s! I have to take my HOP card out of my wallet and hold it on the reader for ages – with Oyster you just brushed it past the reader in your wallet it would respond almost instantly.
            I doubt TFL would allow credit cards if they were so much slower than Oyster.
            I can’t quite work out how we have got a system worse than London had 10 or more years ago. Did they buy cheap readers or something?

          2. I think quicker readers would be good ! I also like the idea of more sensitive ones so not out of your pocket and it can tag you off – but I wrote to AT on that when they had snapper ones and was told they had issues with too sensitve and had needed to dial the sensitivity back ! I wonder if 2 readers 1 either side of the door could do the tag-off more sensitively but avoid those problems

          3. Really? I find it is too fast. I keep my card in the wallet and it usually reads and tags off instantly, then immediately reads a second time and gives me an ‘already tagged off’ error. All in less than a second (don’t know how fast really, I can’t percieve milliseconds!)

            I almost think they need to slow them down, its frustrating having to do it a third time to check everything is ok.

          4. @Nick R, do you have a contactless bank card in your wallet? Try without that card and you might find you stop getting the ‘already tagged off error’ as the bank card stops interfering.

          5. I think you’re ignoring the main game here. Surely the main game is to reduce cash fares which have much greater transaction times. If contactless credit cards allow that, it would be well worth it.

      2. Pah. The read time/ accuracy on the HOP cards is CR@P.
        I’ve got a door fob in my wallet that performs better through 4 cards (including the HOP card), the leather of the wallet and 3cm of air than the HOP card does when I touch it to the reader.

      3. Read times are not a problem. It takes London’s Oyster machines perhaps half a second more to read a contactless payment card than it does an Oyster card, and even their busiest stations have managed to handle the introduction of contactless without pandemonium.

    2. Big problem. HOP Cards are actually really quite advanced. They store your balance on the card, so that you can use it at buses (which cannot check with a central database).

      A debit card system would require a mobile broadband to each bus, and would run into latency issues for fast boarding.

      It’s used on the Tube in London, which has hard wired ticket stations.

      1. Contactless bank cards have also been usable on London buses since 2012, so I’m not sure why they shouldn’t be usable on Auckland’s buses too.

  6. I made a positive comment on Neighbourly about HOP and got a little tirade which all seemed legit:
    72 hours for credit to load – disgraceful in this day and etc.
    AT refusing to board a child without cash and an empty card (a different sort of issue of course but about time for money to load)
    Huge fuss to get a student concession loaded
    Lost HOP and $50 credit couldn’t be transferred from the lost main card to a supplementary card
    Sudden black listing for repeated forgetting to tag off, resulting in being stranded
    Too short a time – 10 sec – to tag off again when you’ve got on the wrong bus

    Stuff like this – as well as the ability to transfer and all – should be FINISHED before they start talking about extending the smart card stuff.

    ALSO they’re going to require seniors to use HOP instead of faffing around with Gold Cards. A good step, but like the student concession, the senior concession is much too fiddly to get loaded.

    And what are they talking about – entry to libraries by smart card (in the survey)? That is an outrage but I imagine it will be a Comms *up. Presumably they mean to use it as a library card. Get the lot on our phones say I.

    1. All good comments. It took my wife 3 attempts to get her Gold Card loaded onto her HOP card. The staff were “too busy” to help her.

    2. One thing to note: it doesn’t take 72 hours to load online credit in practice, it almost always happens overnight. The 72 hours thing is more like a disclaimer to cover for the the worst case everything-goes-wrong scenario which will almost never happen.

      Also if it works for you you should consider an auto top up. This is something that is loaded onto the card itself so the card tops up immediately any time it hits the threshold you set. You’ll never run out that way, and it only tops up when you use up the credit, if you don’t use it nothing happens.

      1. I am not suggesting that the situations above are not valid, but my experience of HOP has been decidedly different. I have had an overwhelmingly positive experience. I do wonder if that is the majority experience but it is the minority negative experience that gets the exposure – people who are having a good experience seldom talk about it as they just assume that is how it should be (and rightly so).

        I have an auto top up linked to my credit card that recharges once the balance goes below $20. This has never failed to occur and I have always had more than adequate credit on my HOP card when I went to use it.

        When my credit card came close to expiry, I received an email from AT reminding me to update the details.

        One gripe is that sometimes the card flashes red, but it appears that it tags on and then tries to tag on again. It then gives an error message of “Already tagged on”. The driver just hears the low beep and sees the red light and so thinks that I have an invalid tag on.

        It would be better if a second tag on/off (which also happens) just beeped and flashed green again as it is not a failed tag, just a double up.

        But to be honest it is a minor issue and doesn’t deter me from using PT. It is also only an issue on the buses not trains.

        1. one of the biggest issues I have with the HOP is that requirement to tag off at the end of journey – its a huge issue for me in context of my usage – I would welcome a system that enabled me not to have to do that (ohh flash back to the good old days of tickets!) in fact after the other day I am seriously considering going back to tickets …. I had my two youngest as normal but as my nearly 2 year old is getting a bit heavy and the elder one will stand and wait for me now (mostly) I thought I would try for more sucessful tag-off with littlest one holding my hand (instead of in my arms with the card, bags etc) – ok tag-off was a little easier but driver must have been in hurry as she closed the doors while the little one was still at the bus entrance – door hit my smallest lucikly the rubber bit and I managed to yell out stop and grab bub and get off before other door closed ! I am definitely going back to carrying my smallest when I tag off – even if I take time to get it lined up when I do that and then time to try and keep a grip on everything and not drop that card ! ……but it might be worth that additional cost of the ticket to go back to paper really.

          1. I now try and tag off when I am within 500m or so of my destination. There is no reason not to and I have never had a driver say something to me.

            There is no rule you have to tag off as getting off the bus so long a sit is not ridiculously early so the fare is affected.

          2. I have tagged off early – as in just before the stop …………..of course that requires you to be sitting at a seat near the machine (and for me that means the front machine
            so we can exit the front doors where at least the driver can see us – I won’t get off the back door with the little ones due to the fact doors have closed on me doing that when I had the pram and one little person in the past even pre-HOP in fact closed onto one of our bags once – that was a defining lets not do the back door moment)

            So assuming I can fit the 3 of us with bags etc on the seat near the machine I can snake my hand around and tag-off earlier ..and i have done that a few times ……but the 3 of us do not fit for a 50 min commute into that seat very well and that seat is not always free anyway ……………I suppose I could pop up myself and walk while the bus is moving – can’t take the small ones up for that ………..and the almost 2 year old it is not a good idea to leave in the seat while I go tag-off really so I don’t tend to do that ………plus if you tag off just after the stop before yours getting tagged-off and back to the seat and everyone and bags picked up is tight timing – I suppose if like you say you could tag-off several stops before that would be more ideal ………

            I would prefer buses had their tag-off machines at the stops -or the cards could read without being lined up (e.g. in ones pocket) – but of course I realise the whole raft of issues with those things that would make them unlikely to happen ………

        2. Broken / inactive / out of order / cash only top up machines at stations.

          Unable to register my card because “you’ve already used your email address somewhere in one of our online systems” (oh, like a service desk ticket? Yeap, done that)
          I had to visit Britomart directly to queue to talk to an actual human being to fix it because the call centre couldn’t (huh? the service rep used a web app to do it)
          Yes, the web site can take 2 plus days to update your card, had that happen to someone at work.

          They might tell you when your credit card is about to expire, but (at least originally) you have to set up the auto top-up once every 12 months, and they failed to notify you when that was expiring.

    3. “Too short a time – 10 sec – to tag off again when you’ve got on the wrong bus”

      Is this really the case? Given that they have integrated GPS systems, it should be fairly straight forward to allow users to tag off, without charge, as long as the bus hasn’t left the stop.

      1. What AT Hop says at https://at.govt.nz/bus-train-ferry/at-hop-card/using-your-at-hop-card/ is:

        “If you tag on and then decide to not board the train or ferry, you can tag off at the same station, ferry terminal or pontoon within 20 minutes of tagging on and you won’t be charged for a trip.

        “If you tag on a bus and decide not to travel, you will need to tag off at the bus driver console to not be charged.”

        No mention of any time limit for buses – but you’d have to be quick not to be swept away by the bus!

        1. My mum and I went to Browns Bay for their Christmas Parade last year, route changes everywhere. Hopped on a bus without properly checking the sign, we both tagged on immediately and bus driver was like “Where are you going? This bus is terminating at the next stop!” Red faces all round as the driver had to tag us both off on the console which IIRC seemed to take some time lol.

  7. All good points Helga. I think that for children HOP cards are especially problematic, because it is so hard to top up the cards. It used to be that children on school buses could use cash to top up HOP cards on the bus, but for some reason they can’t do this any more. Where do they go, unless they are lucky enough to have a place near their homes does it?

    Two other things:

    I’d quite like to see variety in how the styling of HOP cards – if everyone in the house has a HOP card it’s impossible to tell them apart. Why not some nice images from around Auckland?

    Also I’d prefer to keep the cost kept at $5 for now until everybody has had a chance to get one. For ferry users there is no point in a HOP card until integrated fares come in, and that is taking forever.

    1. This is exacerbated in a household like ours where one adult and the 3 children only take PT about once (return) every 3 months or so.
      Which means if we wanted to use hop for them I’d need 4 cards lying around which has to have a decent amount of cash on each because of the ridiculous top up times.

  8. There is no excuse for how long it’s taking to get this system integrated with a smartphone app – except that they’re still trying to cover up choosing the wrong system so some execs could get junkets to Paris.
    Easiest way to get HOP – download a free app rather than pay $10 for a card eh? You can get a pretty good app for $2 million… (680,000 cards * $3 subsidy).

    Which would also solve my biggest gripe – as your standing at the station suddenly going “did I actually tag on…?”

    1. There’s good reasons to not develop our own app just yet.

      Reason being that the technology and systems in this area are evolving rather rapidly. Auckland is not a system of sufficient scale to drive this forward; much better to wait for Apple, Google, Samsung to get their e-wallets up off the ground. We can then piggy back off all that R&D. Fast follower and all that …

      The other thing, which I’ve mentioned elsewhere, is that no-one (that I know of) has yet managed to develop a contactless alternative which delivers the same read times as a PT smart card. Especially next-gen “account-based” smart cards, which are simply a token through which one gains access to the system. Because payment is managed at the back end, then the read times are very very short (and less need for encryption). QED fast.

      So it’s not as easy-peasy lemon squeasy as you make out.

      1. In Prague in 2010 there was a system where you sent a text to a number and it replied with an electronic ticket. If an inspector came you just showed them that and it was all good. The ticket was just charged to your mobile bill.

        That was 5 years ago. Surely the same technology could be used here? Just show the e-ticket to the bus driver, inspector or at the paper ticket gate at train stations.

        Much easier than trying to find a shop that does it.

        1. The one SMS ticket implementation I know of was discontinued because of massive fraud. People typed up the purchase message on the phone and kept an eye out for inspectors. You see one walking toward you, hit send and you get a ticket before the inspector reaches you.

      2. Yeah – so fast following that the alternative system has had it since 2012.
        Which is why they said they were trialling it 3 years ago to try and take the heat off why they were paying more for an offshore system that didn’t actually meet the requirements of the tender.

        And still needed more modifications to do the proposed fare structures.

        But also you bring up the *potential* for a card to be faster than an app based NFC; while seeming to ignore the existing painful times of the existing system which far exceed the metrics you’re talking about above.

      3. Good point Stu.
        HOP is still slower than most other cards… not sure if it is the readers? I’m comparing it to Octopus, Oyster, EZ-link. I would say each of those is around twice as fast as HOP and that they don’t have to be held as close to the reader either… (for example most people in London keep their Oyster card in their wallet or in a pocket of their handbag and just wave that over the reader and it works 95% of the time). It is fast enough that you don’t actually have to stop vs HOP where you pretty much do have to stop and wait for it to do it’s thing. Not sure if this can be improved on with a software update or if it is the actual hardware.

        1. If you remove or tinfoil any contactless bank cards, then this approach also works in Auckland. I just touch my wallet to the readers to tag on/off.

          London had a few problems when it introduced pay-by-eftpos, if you had a contactless eftpos (aka debit-card) in your wallet it would charge both your oystercard and your debit card!

      4. Given that the rate of technological change is increasing, that argument could apply from here to eternity.
        Or at least until Auckland is underwater.

      5. The other benefit of cards is that they still work when your phone is flat. Which is still an issue at the end of the day with current phones.

    2. I would guess the number of people with NFC capable phones in NZ is low, certainly far lower than the 80% of PT-users who are tagging on with HOP. We’d have next to no use if it required everyone wanting to use HOP to upgrade to a phone that worked with the system.

    3. I’m surprised no one has mentioned the fact that Snapper (Wellington’s PT card) already has a working smartphone contactless solution by partnering with Semble: http://www.semble.co.nz/using-semble/how-to-snapper

      As an early adopter of Semble for contactless payments, I have been asking Semble and Auckland Transport to work on a similar solution for AT HOP, as then I won’t need my wallet anymore.
      While it currently requires you to have a particular model of smartphone (iphone’s won’t work at this stage), and have a particular telco’s SIM card, it would still be a sufficiently large enough proportion of Auckland PT users to make it a worthwhile venture. Also, considering it’s only a matter of time before plastic cards and the traditional wallet are completely replaced, they may as well get a headstart and piggy-back off the R&D that is already done, and continues to be done by Semble.

      1. Hein – in actual fact Semble in this regard is supplanting the already existing ability for Snapper to do phone based payments via a Touch2Pay SIM.
        Of course AT and their sycophants try to obfuscate around this as they kicked out Snapper as the ticketing system for a bunch of reasons that have all subsequently been shown to be trash.
        Like the supposed “flexibility” of the Thales system in fares that is costing millions of dollars to implement.

        But it’s OK – because we should trust that their ability to put in a multi-billion dollar tunnel is better than failing to choose and implement a decent ticketing system, put in place electrified lines whose cables don’t fall down and with bridges built too low needing to be re-replaced, a signalling system that’s still having issues…

        1. “hey kicked out Snapper as the ticketing system for a bunch of reasons that have all subsequently been shown to be trash.”

          What arrant nonsense. Snapper was a conjob by Infratil and they tried to ‘lean’ on politicians and spread lies to get it adopted over Thales. Looks like you fell for those lies.

          1. LOL – Sorry Doloras but I have no connection to Infratil; not even shareholdings or friends.

            It’s possible I’ve fallen for a bunch of lies, FUD or disinformation; however it seems unlikely given the physical proof of the system working in Wellington.

            The system that has consistently said things that have failed to appear is Hop / Thales; maybe I’m not the one who has fallen for the FUD?

  9. given my HOP card (which lives in my purse, gets used as its supposed to for tagging on/off and does not party regularly or anything) is peeling away its coating I am not wild about paying more when I need a replacement (which will happen I suspect) ………perhaps if they are $10 again they can be made a bit more robust somehow to general use ?

          1. i was thinking of doing that too. I bought mine on the first week it got introduced and mines just nearly finish its time.

    1. The plastic came off my card over a year ago, it doesn’t affect the card at all, it still functions perfectly well. The chip is inside the core of the card so it doesn’t matter about the plastic laminate around the card.

  10. I find the comparison to the Octopus card in HK amusing. When HOP has the same level of usefulness as Octopus, then perhaps they can justify similar pricing.

  11. Using HOP for other transaction types, e.g. libraries, the zoo, seems like a solution in search of a problem. It’s hard to see any real, tangible benefit to it in the real world. The HOP card functionality is so poor, in terms of loading money etc, that the last thing people need is to extend it to other areas of their lives. For what benefit exactly?

    Also, AT don’t have anything to do with the libraries, zoo etc. While they’re a CCO, they are most definitely their own empire, so it will never happen.

  12. One easy thing I think they can and should do, is expand the number of retail outlets that can top-up Hop cards. There is one in Ponsonby, and one in Grey Lynn. If you find yourself in the suburbs urgently in need of a top-up, it’s a lottery whether you’ll be able to find somewhere or not.

    1. Yes, Oyster and Octopus can be topped up at pretty much any dairy/7-11. They also have machines at every station to quickly top it up. That said with internet banking improving and apps etc there is less need. Still you should be able to buy a HOP card at all dairies. Buses should also sell them pre-loaded with credit (to make the total price $20).

  13. $10 is completely insane given that the people who are holding out need encouragement to take it up not a bigger barrier. And how many of the 20-30% are irregular travellers. We take the bus only every now and then. Am I supposed to buy 4 cards on the off chance we might use them at some point in september 2016. No thanks, it’s cash for us when we do actually use PT and more likely that we never use PT as a family.

      1. Really? That’s interesting. Most smart cards (worldwide) are quite specific in that you have to have one card for each person. Certainly that’s the case in all the Australian systems I’ve used.

      2. You definitely can’t for the train; and I can’t see how that works for the bus either? Especially as it needs to work for the tag off as well as the tag on?

        1. I’m sure I’ve read that you can use AT Hop to pay multiple fares for a single bus trip, but the second and subsequent fares are at the full cash rate. With Snapper, multiple discounted fares can be paid if you ask the driver – there’s just one tag on and one tag off, with the message “Multiple fares paid” at tag on.

      3. It’s still a pain in the arse to do because the driver still needs to issue paper tickets to those people you’ve tagged on. Need to go paperless like Wellington

          1. For the few times I’ve done it, those who accompanied me had to be issued with paper tickets after I tagged them on and they paid full cash fare too off my card. Like Mike says above, in Wellington those tagged on also only pay the Snapper fare.

          2. When you use your Hop for mulitple passengers, you a just paying for the others using you card balance, you’re not actually tagging them on.

            The card holder tags on as normal, then the driver uses his/her console to debit the cash fare price for the additional passengers, who are then issued with a paper ticket. The additional passengers do not tag off (because they never tagged on), only the card holder tags off.

  14. “AT say every single card costs them $8.54 to produce and that they have been making up the difference for some time.” So $3.54 for each card. How much would they save by not having that person hold up buses etc while using cash? Over a month that would probably pay for itself and then save AT money. I don’t have an issue with them increasing to $10 provided they load a $5 credit on it. Most cities allow you to also return the card and get the money back (so it’s a deposit – not sure if that applies in Auckland?).
    Good to see them expanding the use of it and if it is for other council services etc then that would perhaps justify the increased cost.

  15. “It is not legally possible under the conditions of carriage to give a HOP card as change for cash payers i.e. if someone hands a driver a $20 note that he gives them a HOP car with $10 loaded and tells them to tag on” – so why not change the Conditions of Carriage to allow this?
    .
    “They are still investigating the idea of having an NFC option for HOP cards so people can use their phones” – Snapper has had this ability for several years.

    1. “not legally possible” because a HOP card is not legal tender.
      You cannot force someone to take ANYTHING but cash as a payment, anything else is by agreement.

      That’s not to say that you could provide it as an option on the bus. Just ask them and hand them a card if they say yes.
      Maybe you put $15 on the card to encourage them by ‘saving money”

      1. Fine, but it was the Conditions of Carriage, not the definition of legal tender, that was said to preclude giving a Hop card as change. That could be changed, surely?

      2. I agree, having the option of taking a card with $10 credit to tag on with instead of a paper ticket and change would perhaps help penetrate that last bit of the bus passenger market that still uses cash. It only needs a small stock of cards to be carried to cover for scenarios where $20 notes are tendered, because a $20 is what is most commonly dispensed by the ATMs, I bet it would cover such a majority of cases that other scenarios would not be worth covering for.

        Of course, having more retail outlets to enable a physical top-up would also penetrate the market further – tales of online woes and 72-hour delays are not going to encourage any technophobic non-card holders.

        1. I think they need some $20 product available on buses, given that ATMs basically only ever give out twenties.

          Say $20 gets you a hop card pre loaded with $15 credit. Driver takes your money, hits one button to log the sale and gives you the card. Then you tag on and off as normal.

          Also maybe register the card and you get the $5 bonus credit back.

    2. They have been talking about NFC HOP for 3-4 years now, yet we have still seen nothing. Meanwhile Snapper in wellington (and when it was in auckland) had support for NFC tag-ons with a 2degrees sim or balance checks and top-ups regardless of your network, now it is even on Semble so tag-on works on VF and Spark too. I honestly preferred Snapper, worked much better for me, only down-side was of course that it was limited to NZBus services.

      Meanwhile we are stuck with some rather rubbish options:
      -Waste money and pay with cash
      -Top-up in more limited locations than in the past (depending on area), with machines that sometimes don’t work, and retailers who sometimes mess you around if you are paying with a credit card (making you buy something or completely denying you)
      -Top-up online and have to wait X amount of hours for the balance to show, YES it does take up to 72 hours sometimes, especially if you only use buses which only connect at depot
      -Auto-topup which potentially blocks your HOP card permanently and requires you have to have money available at all times (not great for students, children or low income people who live pay to pay)
      -Monthly pass, probably the only good option if it works for you, but monthly passes do not suite many users

  16. Neighbourly is full of users’ gripes – if AT were willing to listen, they could find plenty to remedy.

    For people who have cards which they use only occasionally, as reported by the North Shore Times:
    “Where a top up has been done on line, the top up is available to be picked up at tag on for the next 60 days. Where the card has not been presented to a reader within the 60 days, then the ‘action’ which is stored on the devices, for the top up will lapse.
    This can be reinstated by the customer contacting us when they are ready to use the top up. We then reactivate the funds, the customer tags on and they can pick up the top up.
    We need to manage the size of the files that are being uploaded and downloaded each day to the different devices, so we have set the limit at 60 days. The card has not expired, and the funds just need to be reactivated.”
    How many occasional users lose track of how much credit is on their card?
    And why not have top-up machines at key bus stops and stations? Even better, why not have card-issuing machines?
    Why is it that my credit as shown when I tag is different from the one when I go to MyATHop – why aren’t the two systems synchronised?
    As for the increase to $10… nuff said!

    1. You could easily have dozens more machines around Auckland. Maybe they’ll get above 74% when they put top up and purchase (you put in $10 or $20 and out comes a loaded card) machines where people are.

  17. That is a bit of a barrier too for tourists. And tourists which are not used to kiwi dollars are the last people you want to have fumbling with coins on a bus.

    Maybe part of that can be solved by making it possible to get a HOP card at the airport, and hand it in again when you leave.

    1. They are available for sale at the airport at isite. In the overall scheme of things $10 is not a big expense for someone who has flown here especially if they are going to take multiple trips while in Auckland.

    2. Even better to make the $5/$10 a deposit, which you get back when you hand the card in, as with Oyster, I think; or give visitors a car, as in Geneva, I think.

      And even better, contactless bank cards and phone apps mean that all you have to do is get on the bus/train, no special card required – apparently Australian visitors form one of the largest groups of users of contactless bank cards in London.

    1. That’s basically the case in Melbourne. You MUST have a myki to use any public transport in Melbourne. You can buy them on the buses, but they don’t accept cash fares so you’re forced to pay the $6 purchase price if you don’t have one.

  18. As far as extending at hop to non transport, I can see the dollar signs in AT’s eyes!
    The more people use AT Hop, the more likely they are to top up with larger dollar values, which would increase the float AT has, which is all jam for their finance department!

    The only real problem could be parents whose children’s cards debit from their cards balance. Very useful feature to ensure your child can always use PT without cash being spent on sweets etc.

  19. So when are they going to bring their online service into the first world? Online payments by credit card should show immediately, like it does for everything else online. Up to 72 hours or however long it takes is more than pathetic.

  20. Be warned about using Auto Topup wit AT Hop Cards, 1) there is no way on the AT site to see when your credit card expires, 2) AT do not send you an email that your credit card is about to expire, 3) If your credit card does expire they will still try and take money from your card. 4) If they can’t access your card to auto topup they will blacklist your card even if there is credit on it 5) The will not un blacklist your card. 6) they will not advise you of blacklisting your card.

    1. I’ve never used the auto top up feature and never will. But manually topping up should be processed immediately. The service is disgraceful the way it is at the moment.

      1. I use auto top-up. Never have to think it. Seamless, painless… no issue. Just use Transit all the time with HOP. Couldn’t be easier.

        Just be sure to link it to a current account not a credit card, as credit cards expire which means the auto top up expires too.

        1. AT will always keep telling people that they are improving the online service. Even though they havn’t improved a single thing since it’s creation. Make the top up’s appear immediately and it would be a hundred times better.

    2. Your credit card expiry is stamped into your credit card, you don’t have to look on the website!

      Not sure about your bank but mine sends me a new card when the old one is about to expire. That’s when I go and change all my payments.

      And like Patrick notes, if you don’t want to use a credit card you can use any bank account. That’s actually what I do.

      1. Which is fine until your bank blocks your card due to fraudulent activities on it, which happened to me. Other payees from my account whose payments were declined as a result didn’t cancel any services.

        I now use manual top up which works just fine. Never had a problem with the card not topping up the next time I tag on, which is usually the next day so not sure where this 72 hour thing comes from.

      2. When my bank sends me a new card it has the same number as the old card and they don’t display the expiry on the MyAT portal.So being able to see the expiry on my card is pretty bloody useless if you can’t see what it is on the stored card. Everywhere else I have my card stored with advises me. In my opinion sending an email that your stored card is expiring is essential. There system is so pathetic it tries to debit an expired card and then the email you get doesn’t tell you it has expired,

        This is part of the email I got

        You recently triggered an Auto Top-Up of $‎50.00 for your AT HOP Card XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX when your HOP Money balance reduced to $ 20.00.We attempted a debit from your nominated bank account, but have been advised that this transaction was unable to be processed.

        I spoke to my bank and they had no record of any attempts to debt my card. When I challenged AT they told me it wasn’t sent to the bank as my card had expired. Surely they could have told me that.

        1. Thats what happened to me on both attempts with auto-topup, except my card was nowhere near expiry and I had plenty of avail funds on the linked cards. Challenged AT, they requested evidence, which I provided and then they never got back to me and ignored any follow-up contact and held onto my $55 of charged balance. Just feels like a scam and hence I’ve steered well clear of auto-topup and had little problems, apart from annoyance of broken top-up machines and being overcharged on occasion, oh yeah and the really crap amount of top-up locations compared to snapper, well… sure you can top-up online but that never helps when you decide to bus down the road last minute and are in negative balance.

          I’ve heard of a few people having issues with the auto-topup, I’m sure there are many here who don’t have issues with it but those who have would probably amount to quite a few people overall.

    3. I’ve had email reminders from AT when my card is a month out from expiring asking me to update the information. Easy. Peasy.

    4. Yep that number 6 is what really drove me furious, stuck in the middle of nowhere with my hop card saying card error, luckily my bus driver was friendly and just let me on anyway… Ridiculous system that but the sounds of it still has not been fixed.

  21. If they just made the online top up’s appear immediately, it would be a hundred times better. Showing your activity/transactions in near realtime is a must also. But I’m not holding my breath.

  22. They should make it similar to Japan where it can be used at vending machines so that people can buy things. On the other hand vending machines need to appeal to people by having more variations in products like Japan such as books, umbrellas, hot drinks etc. That $10 should also be refundable like other cities so that when you surrender your card you get your money back and the remaining balance on the card

  23. In London, in the underground you can use contactless cards for payment. Would it be possible to somehow integrate visa paywave into tag on/off machines?

  24. I was told by a bus driver last week that my SuperGold card is becoming invalid June 2016 and I need to go to the railway station in Auckland to buy a Hop Card. Information from my SuperGold card will go onto the Hop Card, so I’m told, and I will receive all the benefits from my SuperCard. I pay $10 for this exchange. Is this correct?

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