In just over a month those over 65 will no longer be able to just wave their SuperGold card to get free public transport. Instead, following changes made by the government, they will be required to have an AT HOP card with a concession loaded. There are currently about 180,000 people in Auckland with a SuperGold card and that is growing by about 7,000 a year and AT say almost 42,000 already have a HOP card with the SuperGold concession loaded. That also means that potentially around 140,000 people won’t be able to travel unless they make the change over the next month.
Auckland Transport have launched a campaign to get those with SuperGold cards on to HOP including introducing a new SuperGold specific HOP card – although those with blue HOP cards can keep using those.
Switching SuperGold public transport use to the AT HOP card will also reduce improper use of the SuperGold concession and permit improved planning of public transport services making the scheme more sustainable, reducing taxpayer and ratepayer costs.
Mr Lambert says seniors using public transport in Auckland who do not yet have an AT HOP card will need to purchase one by 30 June, at a cost of $15 (the AT HOP card costs $10 and it must have a minimum of $5 credit loaded onto it at the time of purchase) The $10 card purchase price is non-refundable.
“We’re working with the Ministry of Transport and directly with seniors’ advocacy groups to make the process as easy as possible for seniors,” he says.
Auckland Transport is making an information pack available to all SuperGold cardholders, advising seniors of the changes and explaining how to purchase an AT HOP card and load a SuperGold concession.
“We have worked directly with seniors in focus groups to ensure the information provided is clear and easy to understand,” Mr Lambert says.
SuperGold card users purchasing an AT HOP card from 9 May will be issued with a specially designed, distinctive gold AT HOP card. However, blue AT HOP cards loaded with a SuperGold concession will continue to be accepted after 1 July 2016. Auckland Transport will be in contact with individuals who have a blue AT HOP card loaded with a SuperGold concession regarding the process to swap out their blue AT HOP card for a gold AT HOP card free of charge after 1 July 2016.
Having a specific SuperGold card is a good idea but oddly though it’s not a replacement for the SuperGold card so those eligible will have to carry both cards. Similarly, the Ministry of Social Development appear to have refused to help AT in the change over. I understand this isn’t the first time the MSD has done this and it appears to me that they want to operate in a silo over the whole thing.
At the same time Grey Power is calling the requirement to buy a HOP card cruel. While I understand why they’re saying it, I personally thing that’s a bit rough given that Auckland Council/Transport go beyond the SuperGold benefits and also cover evening peak travel too. Paying $15 for essentially unlimited free travel is still a very good deal.
I would expect most people who read this blog are likely to already have a HOP card with the concession loaded but
With the discussion on SuperGold I thought I’d also take a quick look at some of the figures around SuperGold which can be found on this NZTA site. It has annual data up to the end of June last year
In total there were 12.6 million trips via SuperGold across NZ in the 2014/15 year and that was worth just over $26 million in fares.
SuperGold trips in Auckland accounted for about 56% of that national total although only 54% of value of fares. For 2015 the breakdown of trips by mode and the percentage of total trips by that mode were:
- Bus – 5.9m (9.9%)
- Train – 680k (4.9%)
- Ferry – 445k (8.0%)
- Total – 7.1m (8.9%)
The costs are quite different though due to the high cost of ferries. In the brackets is the cost per trip
- Bus – $9.8m ($1.66)
- Train – $1.5m ($2.27)
- Ferry – $2.8m ($6.24)
- Total – $14.1m ($2.01)