Auckland will reach another important milestone on Sunday with Auckland Transport finally adding ferries to the integrated fares system.

You’ve been able to pay for your ferry trip with HOP since the system launched in late 2012 but the mode was excluded from integrated fares when they launched in 2016. Integrated fares meant that you could transfer between multiple buses and trains and only pay a single fare based on how many zones you passed through on that journey.

It’s important to note that fare integration is not the same as fare parity. This means you’ll still pay the ferry fare but a 1-zone trip either side won’t cost any extra.

With ferries excluded it meant you paid for it separately for the journey. For example, if you were to catch a local feeder bus to the Devonport ferry terminal, caught a ferry to the city and then a train to Newmarket then even using HOP you’d pay $9 all up ($2 for the bus trip, $5 for the ferry & $2 for the train). So with the new system that trip would be just $5, a 44% reduction.

Had the same journey been made using buses and trains it would cost $3.55.

Here’s AT’s press release.

Ferry customers will soon have a simpler and more affordable journey across Auckland Transport’s (AT) network.

Starting Sunday 26 July 2020, ferry fares will be joining AT Metro’s integrated fare system. This means customers can transfer between buses, trains and ferries and pay just once for their entire journey when they tag on and off with their AT HOP card.

“Integrated fares make it simpler and cheaper to use public transport,” says Auckland Mayor Phil Goff.

“Encouraging more people to use public transport will help lower carbon emissions and mean that those who do drive experience reduced traffic congestion.


“A single zone bus or train trip to or from the ferry terminal is now included for AT HOP card users,” says Planning Committee Chair Chris Darby.

“For just the cost of a ferry, you’ll be able to hop on the bus to the terminal, take the ferry into town, then bus or train to work, education or whatever in the city centre. Integrated ferry fares mean more affordable travel, more people on ferries, buses and trains, and fewer cars on the road.”

With an AT HOP card, customers will pay for their journey just once instead of paying for each bus, train or ferry trip separately. Tag on and off each bus, train or ferry as usual, and AT HOP fares will be automatically calculated for the entire journey, removing the cost of connecting bus and train trips in the same zone as the ferry. AT HOP monthly ferry pass customers can take advantage of the new integrated fares too.

“We’re excited to get integrated ferry fares up and running for AT HOP users now after working closely with our operating partners,” says Colin Homan, AT’s Group Manager of Integrated Network Enablement.

“Integrating ferry fares not only means commuters can save money every day, but it also makes it easier and more accessible to connect with buses or trains on either side of a ferry trip.”

Aucklanders will be able to take advantage of the new integrated fare system when travelling on Bayswater, Beach Haven, Birkenhead, Gulf Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Hobsonville Point, Pine Harbour, Stanley Bay, Northcote Point and West Harbour ferry services contracted by AT.

Customers travelling on Devonport and Waiheke Island ferry services will also benefit from these savings when using an AT HOP card for their journey.

A few quick thoughts on this:

  • The annual use of ferries peaked about a year ago at just over 6.3 million trips – although it will be interesting to see how long it takes to get back to that level.

  • AT haven’t been clear about what happens if your trip requires more than one stage on a journey, such as Devonport to Ellerslie. For example do they charge a full ferry fare and a two stage bus/train fare or just the differential in cost between the one and two zone fares.
  • This should make it much more viable to use feeder buses to get to/from ferry terminals. The biggest challenge now will be if those feeder services can operate all day.
  • Ideally it should also spell the end of ATs Devonport trial of subsidised taxi’s. Why would you now pay to use one when the bus is free? As I highlighted here, the service was slowly increasing in use but buses were carrying a similar number of people.

Overall it’s pleasing to see this rolling out.

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  1. If you’re travelling more than one zone from the ferry terminal, you’ll pay for the additional zones, the first one is always free.

    1. Thanks Callum but that’s still not clear. Using the example above of a ferry then a two zone train trip is it
      – Ferry fare + a 1 zone trip so $5 + $2 for $7 in total or
      – Ferry fare + difference between 1 and 2 zones so $5 + ($3.55 – $2) for $6.55 in total

      1. Will be interesting to see what the actual answer is. My prediction is neither of those.

        The Ferry fare for Devonport-Auckland is effectively a three stage fare so my expectation is Ferry + 1 additional stage would be charged as a four stage fare,
        $5 plus the difference between 3 and 4 stages for a total of $6.40.

        1. So to summarise under the new structure:
          Ferry fares and now integrated with normal hop fares, but ferries cost one zone more than equivalent bus or train trips, but you get a one-zone discount on a connecting bus or train… but only on one side of the trip, not both.

        2. Wow how confusing for the public to try and understand.
          Perhaps it would be better for AT to talk about ferry fares to be X zones (depending on the route)

  2. Off-topic, but I still argue that there should be fare parity as well, to make a truly seamless fare system. The argument that is advanced is always that too many people would use ferries if the fares were lowered to bus/train levels, and that because it’s an expensive way of moving people, we couldn’t afford it.

    Too many people using public transport if the fares were lowered? Tragedy!

    I take the view that equity and fairness for people who live in areas best served by ferries demands a change. We don’t charge a premium for train travel despite having to subsidise it more heavily than buses. And we know that ferries currently meet around 80% of operating costs (though mostly this is due to the success of the Devonport and Waiheke ferries, which are outside PTOM – that’s another issue that needs to be addressed).

    So how about it, AT? The status quo is actually a form of discrimination against residents of harbour suburbs.

    And don’t argue that they all have alternative land-based ways of getting to the city by PT. That’s akin to saying that we’ll charge train passengers or express bus passengers more for their journey because they have alternatives. Time for equity and not panicking about the possibility that patronage might increase too much.

    1. Won’t someone think of the poor, financially hard-done-by residents of *checks notes* Devonport?

      1. What about the poor, financially hard-done-by residents catching the Beach Haven ferry?

        By the same logic, bus fares should be based on the income of the residents at the boarding and/or alighting stop, for example, a $5 surcharge for using a bus stop on Remuera Rd

    2. Of course there should be fare parity – to move forward as a city we need to turn away from the kind of ignorance expressed in Buttwizard’s comment. It’s so common here that people want subsidised public transport for themselves but not everyone else, and frankly this is not good enough in a mature adult.

    3. Trains aren’t subsidised more than buses. The other way around these days actually.
      On a basic ‘per trip’ they have a greater subsidy but train trips are on average nearly twice as long as bus trips so on a per passenger km basis they’re lower

  3. Good news. I’m certainly more encouraged to do the outing I was planning now that it will be a bit cheaper.

    1. Does that move you one step closer to reducing the number of cars in the household?

      I ask because the best outcome is that we would reduce the number of cars in the city overall.

      1. No it won’t. It’s going to cost a lot more to take PT to the destination than driving.

        One advantage of taking PT is being able to see things on the ferry that I can’t while driving.

        1. Do you have any thoughts about what would prompt you to consider.

          I ask because we don’t have a car in the house, but we organise around it, with a hire car once every couple of months. For me the fixed costs of owning a car are higher than PT + hire car costs, before any of the variable costs. I’m interested in how others approach the same question.

          Admittedly PT in Sydney works differently to Auckland, but the concepts should be applicable everywhere.

        2. If I have to go into Akl central, I’ll take the train because there is a station nearby and it’s a reasonably quick and efficient service.
          Besides that, who’d want to be driving on the Southern Motorway when it’s bucketing down with rain.

          At other times, if there’s 3 or4 of us going to the same destination, it’s quite expensive and cheaper to take the car.

  4. I can’t believe that patronage graph, which suggests only a minor reduction in ferry use in April – they were almost completely shut down, I was sometimes the only person on the boat!
    Or is a cumulative “year until” number? In which case it’s a bit misleading and is going to smooth out the lockdown effects over a 12 month period, and does not show the actual monthly usage which would be useful to know – I assume things will be back more or less to normal now.

    1. It’s all done in Quarters and the one to watch out for is this Quarter and then we will see the hit on passenger numbers .

  5. Great news. Yes a bit unclear when travelling beyond they should of given examples.

    Am I mistaken but wasn’t this or a half baked version already trialed or maybe it was just announced ahead of time a while back?

    1. Page 184, I should have said! Like others I’ve been puzzling over how exactly the fare integration would be structured, and this page helps.

      1. Thanks for that Timmy. It’s ever so exciting that Auckland Transport state right there on p184 that one will be able to travel from anywhere on Waiheke to anywhere in Auckland for $11.10 using a HOP card. Or the other way. That’s a reduction by a factor of 2 to 3 for some trips. And there’s even going to be a daily pass for $19!

        1. Assuming that they stuffed that up, and Waiheke HOP fares are still $21, each way…does that mean that the reality is anywhere on the Waiheke bus route to anywhere in Auckland is now $21?

          And do Waiheke ferry monthly pass holders now get buses included in Auckland for their $372? (Waiheke buses were already included).

        2. I think the $21 Waiheke fare would only get you from anywhere on Waiheke bus-route to anywhere in the City Zone only (Or Lower North Shore, if you get off at Devonport). I would assume any travel through further zones would result in further cost, though it’s still unclear to me what price-point they’d start at.

  6. I just knew someone would come up with this hackneyed old argument. The stats that I can find for income per local board area (2013) suggest that annual income per household across Auckland averaged mostly in the $70-80,000 range, with the exception of a couple of the South Auckland Local Board areas. Oh, and of course, Waiheke, which is waaaay down at just over $50,000. But of course, they’re lumbered with the fares that Fullers charge.

    If I was a Waiheke resident, I’d be asking why it is that a 21-km trip to central Auckland costs $21 with a HOP card, while a Papakura resident’s 29-km trip to central Auckland costs just $6.40 with a HOP card. That’s $1 per kilometre for Waiheke residents, and 22 cents per kilometre for Papakura residents. If you If there was ever an argument for bringing Fullers’ PT operations under public control, that is it.

    So Waiheke residents pay their rates like everyone else, have about a 30% lower household income than most others (except Great Barrier local board residents) yet don’t get their travel to the city subsidised like everyone else and pay nearly five times as much per kilometre than Papakura residents for the journey. Phrases like “criminal extortion” and “failure of civic leadership” come to mind.

    1. And pay $6 to park at the wharf, whilst park and ride is free elsewhere. I guess this new integration levels that little bit out (one can now catch the bus to the ferry for the same cost, if that’s the correct interpretation?).

      1. Waiheke monthly pass holders have always had free bus rides on Waiheke. However they will not have the new fare-integration on the city side (as the Waiheke monthly pass is separate to AT HOP).

        If you’re a Waiheke resident, but not a monthly pass-holder, you probably use one of the multi-trip options: the 10-trip FlexiPass, or a 40-trip ticket. These passes are also completely separate to AT HOP, so these travelers will not get the new ferry/HOP integration.

        One way on a 40-trip pass costs $13.25. Add in parking or bus rides at each end, and you’ll still only be paying $17.25 – $21.25
        One way on a 10-trip pass costs $15.30. Plus parking or bus rides at each end, and you’ll be paying $19.30 – $23.30
        One way Waiheke on the HOP card is $21, which would include the bus ride at each end.

        So they’re quite close to promoting HOP usage for Waiheke locals, but not quite over the threshold yet.

        1. Timmy the 40 trip has to be used within 12 months and te 10 trip has a life span of 3 years . And with the monthly pass that can be used on the H&E buses only , as they also own the Waiheke buses , which are all owned by Fullers .

        2. Not so sure that is correct. I don’t believe thebus has always been free with a monthly pass. The free bus for monthly pass holders was introduced by Fullers in a successful attempt to knock out a competitor on the Waiheke service. It has remained and was a also factor in the demise of Explore.

        3. Another correction. H&E buses were sold and no longer have free travel for Fullers Waiheke monthly pass holders.

    2. Probably for the same reason people who live on Stewart Island, Great Barrier Island, the Chatham Islands and Durville Island don’t get their ferry costs subsidised.

      People chose to live on an island, it’s not for everyone else to cover the costs of that lifestyle.

      1. We’re all Aucklanders, all pay our rates, and all deserve the same level of benefit. Why should Waiheke residents NOT have decent public transport at an affordable price? I didn’t hear anyone arguing against extending bus services to Warkworth and Wellsford on the basis that “they chose to live there so they should just suck it up”.

        1. Great Barrier Island is part of the Auckland Local Authority area.
          Extending your argument then their existing ferry service and air service should be subsidised by the Council to provide comparitive per km fares to surface transport on the mainland.
          I think there is still a case to provide diffefent pricing between modes when there is a corresponding substantial difference in the provision costs between modes. A premium supplement if you like. I think there is different pricing between the fast catamaran service and the conventional ferry on the Manly run in Sydney.

        2. Actually, I think there’s a strong case for subsidising the Great Barrier ferry and bringing it under AT control. Being a 4.5 hour journey it would obviously attract a higher fare. Currently you’d pay $70 for a 93-km journey (approx) – that’s about 75cents per kilometre compared with Waiheke’s $1 and Papakura’s 22 cents. Given the average household income of Great Barrier residents was $35,000-ish in 2013 (compare that with $100,000 plus in the Orakei local board area where PT is heavily subsidised). There are some basic issues of equity in terms of access to PT that do need to be addressed.

        3. I agree regarding the same level of benefit, however that already happens on Waiheke, more rates money is spent on the island than is paid on the island.

          Warkworth and Wellsford have subsidised local buses just as Waiheke does. However, if you want to catch the express bus direct to the city from Warkworth you pay a commercial rate just as you do for the express ferry from Waiheke.

          I assume you also think that ferries and flights to Great Barrier should be subsidised given they are Aucklanders as well?

        4. Yes, I do think that Great Barrier ferries should receive a subsidy (see below). At the moment, ferry fares are about two thirds of the air fare, which is absurd. Maybe if we were serious about reducing carbon emissions and lowered the ferry fare then fewer people would fly and more use the ferry. There’s no logical argument for discriminating against GBI residents.

        5. One of the reasons they cost 2/3rds of the airfare is ferries burn a lot of fuel, I doubt a ferry trip to GBI is much more environmentally friendly than a flight.

        6. If we’re subsidising ferries to GBI then it would make sense to subsidise them to the Coromandel, it’s the same distance. Seems discriminatory to exclude them just because of an arbitrary council boundary, we’re all New Zealanders after all.

        7. Unlikely, as I think it would have been reasonably clear from my comments above that I don’t support any of them being subsidised.

          There is a wider benefit to land PT being subsidised as it reduces pressure on roads and allows urban areas to function. The benefits of subsidising island ferries is much narrower, in that mostly benefits landowners through inflated house prices and visitors through cheaper vineyard trips.

          In saying that I think the islands should have more autonomy than they currently do. Keep the rates on the island and have a local council decide whether fixing potholes, subsidising ferries or maintaining the wharf is the most important use of this money.

        8. “I think the islands should have more autonomy than they currently do. Keep the rates on the island and have a local council decide whether fixing potholes, subsidising ferries or maintaining the wharf is the most important use of this money.”

          Yes. Including choosing whether or not to seal roads and trim trees and repair roads subjected to heavy loads, etc., to facilitate Fullers running double-decker tourist buses direct from their ferries, or sold through their wharf retail facilities that they don’t pay for, to their business partners.

          And the wharf tax – collected in the ticket price – could be different for residents (who pay rates for the facilities) and visitors (who don’t).

          And using local contractors more, etc.

          But…the application for independence ( was rejected.

      2. What’s so magic about water that travel on it shouldn’t be subsidised? Why not say that people who live on land shouldn’t have their roads and rails and associated PT vehicles subsidised? Waiheke was heavily populated, in part because of its superior transport links, when Auckland wasn’t viable. Almost two centuries of subsidised development of transportation infrastructure made settling and expanding Auckland viable. No money has been spent on construction roads and rails for the ferries run on. And Waiheke paid for its own wharf and is now still paying wharf tax to Auckland Council on every ferry ticket.

        1. ‘Why not say that people who live on land shouldn’t have their roads and rails and associated PT vehicles subsidised?’

          I think that would be ideal. PT never used to be subsidised, Auckland’s trams made money. It was only the large subsidies that went into roads and urban sprawl that made PT unviable without a subsidy

        2. Jezza, Auckland PT is 50% or more subsidised now. Users pay cost minus subsidy. And get free park and ride. Waiheke fares are the opposite – they pay for the cost, and for profits on top to flow back to Stagecoach, or Souter Holdings, or InMotion Group, or whatever they’re called now. Cost plus profit. And paid park and ride. And a more-or-less monopoly situation, perpetuated by Auckland Transport not allowing wharf access to would-be competitors and Government not providing Gold Card subsidy to would-be competitors. And the owner doing what they’ve done countless times overseas, in using their market dominance to crush opposition with what appear to me to be questionable practices (doubling the number of ferries by adding additional ones to leave just before the competitor – then stopping that again after they went out of business).
          I accept your position of no subsidy to PT (and I assume no subsidy to any other mode). But you surely don’t think it fair that some get a subsidy and some get milked by a overseas-owned monopoly?

      3. People also choose to live on Whangaparoa Peninsular. That explains why their ferry travel, although further than Waiheke, is subsidised and also is significantly cheaper. Fair? Not. Stupid argument. There are other inequalities but I haven’t the energy to point them out to those with fixed stereotyped opinions.

    1. I wonder if this will address the anomaly where you can’t transfer between ferries, for example, to travel from Birkenhead to Devonport via ferry. Currently you have to exit and re-enter the gates at Downtown otherwise you’re charged a failed tag off / on fee for each trip.

  7. Integrated fares, Integrated Manukau harbour. Fast ferry service between Onehunga Port and rail-head and Waiuku. So many greenfield subdivisions down here – cheaper to build a new motorway and a new wall of cars? Looking forward to integrating the Manukau harbour back into our transport system – like it has been for 900+ years

    1. How are you going to get a ferry into Waiuku at low tide?

      It’s just like Riverhead, you can’t run a ferry to the wharf at low tide.

  8. Maybe they’ll integrate AT Local too. It could be like the bus, except maybe treated like one zone more. So then you could use a HOP card for with normal fares but the ferry costs one zone more than equivalent bus or train trips, and on one side of the ferry you get a one-zone discount on a connecting bus but if it’s AT Local then that one-zone discount is applied to a one-zone add-on for an equivalent bus.


  9. Bit disappointed that the fares for the ferries themselves haven’t changed though. You pay such a premium over a bus, yet for express buses or trains you pay consistently no matter what.

    Also why is the fare to Waiheke so expensive when Pine Harbour and Gulf Harbour are similar distances at significantly less cost.

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