Auckland Transport has ruled out bringing back cash fares on buses, as reported by Newshub and picked up by other outlets including Pacific Media News, whose tweet puts it in terms anyone who’s been a teenager can probably relate to…

The removal of cash fares at the start of the pandemic made a lot of sense ,and there are a lot of benefits to having cashless buses. It helps to speed up services, as well as making things easier and safer for drivers. So it’s certainly a worthwhile long-term goal – but there are a lot of improvements that are needed to HOP and our PT system to make it really work for people.

As an example of just one of the improvements needed, as one Twitter commenter notes: “We need to roll out more places to purchase cards and top up. Like Sydney or London, you should be able to top up at almost every dairy.”

Because this is not just about kids “scabbing” a few coins to make it home safely, as the article spells out:

An advocacy group for digital inclusion, the Digital Equity Coalition Aotearoa (DECA), has questioned how this change will encourage and enable more people to use public transport.

A spokesperson for DECA says migrant communities, including Pasifika, and tourists are a large proportion of the “cash economy” and might not know what a HOP card is.

Even the Ratepayers’ Alliance has come to the party, saying that “if Auckland Transport were serious about connecting communities and making travel accessible for everyone then it would remove this unnecessary barrier.”

Prior to COVID, HOP card usage was around 93% on buses, 86% on trains and 45% on ferries, for an overall HOP usage of about 88.5%. The change to having no cash fares has mainly impacted use on buses, which has jumped to 99%, with trains and ferries only seeing a slight change.

The news story notes that the Reserve Bank says cash should be an option for all essential purchases. AT offers the counterpoint that cash payments on buses creates bottlenecks, and introduces the risk of robbery, and that digital HOP cards help with contact-tracing, and so on. It also mentions a number of aggressive or abusive attacks on bus drivers that occurred after cash was removed as an option, but stops short of drawing a direct connection. The story ends:

DECA says AT needs to consult with impacted communities, and help people with limited understanding of public transport or access to online services to enable greater patronage.

AT said it would give out free HOP cards to anyone trying to use cash in 2020.

The spokesperson for DECA says this is the kind of support that can help people transition from cash to digital payment methods, and they would like to see efforts like this continue to ensure inclusion.

It does make you wonder: what does this mean for the mass mode-shift to public transport we need to decarbonise daily transport?

Say you were a person who hadn’t regularly used public transport, but have started thinking about it. You’ve seen billboards telling you to “HOP” on the bus or train, some of which mention half-price fares. There’s a bus stop on the corner – you’ve seen people standing there as you peel out of the driveway each morning and join the queue on your street to join the queue for the onramp to join the queue on the motorway.

So, where would you start? Maybe by walking to the nearest bus stop, reading the time-table and having a think about if it was going somewhere you want to go. You might make a tentative plan for a test ride. Then show up at the bus stop with your mask, because you’ve heard about that – and your wallet.

Sorry, says the driver, no cash fares.

So you go home, jump in the car, join the queue. Maybe you put “HOP CARD??” on the shopping list for your next visit to the supermarket, or wherever they sell these things. Or maybe you’ve got too many other things to think about.

Maybe you’re aware there’s a (pretty decent) AT Mobile app. Or, maybe you visit the AT homepage – which doesn’t give up the answers easily. You can “Plan a journey”… but if you show up to the bus stop without a HOP card, your journey ends there. And you can’t “Register an AT HOP Card” unless you already have one.

Where would you start? With the search bar?

You get the picture. In the end, it takes half a dozen clicks to get to the page with the map that tells you where you can get a HOP card, if you’re lucky enough to have an outlet nearby. Good luck working this out on your phone while standing at the bus stop.It’s a lot of teeny tiny barriers that all add up.


If we’re to move permanently to cashless buses, AT needs to significantly improve the customer experience. We’ve covered many of these before, but here’s a quick summary of some of them:

  • As already mentioned, we need way more places to be able to buy HOP cards. They should be available at stores almost everywhere as a pre-paid bundle, rather than just a small number of selected stores.

    Red: HOP Retailers, Blue: Pre-paid card locations, Green: AT Service Centres. Note how many suburbs don’t even have a location to buy a card in
  • HOP cards should be dispensed from HOP top-up machines at train/bus stations and ferry terminals – something that is possible in most cities around the world. It was a serious design flaw that the machines were not designed to be able to do this.
  • There should be pre-paid bundles, not just for standard HOP cards but for concession cards, too. And how about some unique designs for children’s cards?
  • On the bus network, particularly on our busier routes, AT needs to implement off-board fare payment. These don’t have to be large bulky machines like we currently have, but something not that dissimilar to a parking meter.
  • HOP is a useful system, but we’re already seeing cities move away from stored-value card systems, or at least supplementing them with other options such as allowing people to use credit cards, either directly or through phone-based payments such as Apple or Google Pay. AT has promised (and trialled) some these types of technologies before, but never implemented them publicly – and it appears they’re now waiting on the new replacement nationwide system to do that.

There are bound to be many other, often small, things that could be done to improve the experience and streamline the process for people looking to start using public transport regularly. What do our readers suggest?

Finally one handy little tip: the government is currently covering half the cost of public transport fares – and notably, that includes the cost of a HOP card too. Although, oddly, this doesn’t apply to the cards that come with pre-loaded credit. Anyhow, if you need a HOP card to get started with, or want some spares for any reason, they’re just $5 right now. (Here’s where to buy and top up.)

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117 comments

  1. There should at least one of the standard payment options: cash or EFTPOS or credit card. To offer none of these is a crazy barrier to uptake for infrequent users.

    1. Good article and good point Lisa, we should have something (including a pay-wave facility as part of the mix might makes sense too, for speed factor). I remember when I first arrived in NZ the fact I could use cash was an enormous relief, and for years as I would encourage visitors to use buses because they were so easy. Not anymore. I wonder what is needed: petition the board?

    2. The Waikato Buses have gone back to accepting Cash again after not taking it during the original Covid period .
      And I have seen bus Drivers letting people travel free when they get off the Ferries on Waiheke , but they tell them where to purchase them on the Island and most I think do after thy reach their holiday destination .

    1. You should still be able to count passengers for numerous reasons, so free fares wouldn’t fix the need for some form of tagging on.

      1. Tagging on isn’t the only way to count passengers: some places use weighing devices on vehicles to do that.

        But money is probably better spent on improving service than eliminating fares (and the revenue stream that comes with them).

      2. employ drivers who can count ?
        count the number of cellphone ID’s
        subtract the number of people exiting the bus from entering the bus
        Sounds like we can save hundreds of millions by ditching moneycards
        Apple, Google, ozzie banks, Infratil, and the nats would hate this.

  2. The problem isn’t the difficulty to buy a HOP card it is the fact that HOP cards are outdated technology.

    The technology exists to use your contactless credit or debit card (i.e. Paywave) for these types of payments and this has been in place in London (as one example) for a several years now and the vast majority of people use their bank card rather than the old Oyster cards.

    This also has the benefit of meaning that tourists or visitors don’t have to outlay $10 for a transport card that they may never use again.

    The roll out of payments using Paywave should be priority for AT and across all PT in NZ. There are plans to do this (Project NEXT) but they are still several years away. There is no reason why AT couldn’t roll this out by the end of the year if they had the desire to.

    1. Pay wave is a game-changer, as places like London and Vancouver demonstrate, but there are two big reasons why AT wouldn’t roll this out soon: money, and Waka Kotahi. It’s the latter’s very tardy roll out of Project Next that’s the real issue, effectively putting a freeze on any improvements to existing card schemes. Interestingly, Greater Wellington is an exception to that: fed up with foot-dragging, off its own bat it’s extending Snapper (currently the best local option, despite its faults) to trains, finally eliminating a ticketing system invented 150 years ago – no rush, eh? And the Bee card, which should have been unnecessary, will have come and gone, too.

      What a waste!
      But if WK had been doing its job properly, we’d all have been there years ago.

    2. Well aside from that, the top up is insane. For non regular PT users, you have to add a new credit card, top up, and go on a bus. What if I haven’t been on a bus? The top up gets reversed, and my CC unregistered.

      The time I actually get on the bus of course I have no money. As the card doesn’t seem to allow me to go into -‘ve balance like in Melb on their Myuki card for example. So I explain to the bus driver, and he allows me to board for free. Great experience…

      1. The HOP card DOES allow you to go into a -ve balance, you just can’t start a trip with a negative balance. Seems entirely fair to me. A lot of these objections seem to be from people who don’t use PT and don’t know what they’re talking about even though the info is easily available.

        1. Zippo, I did say for a non regular PT user, during lockdowns I had no need for it. Maybe you’re right my card could’ve been -ve from a trip in the past.

          That does not make the top up system any good. I would expect to be able to top up my card online, and add my CC with an auto topup.

          If I do not scan it after doing so, the top up, the auto top up, and even my CC get de-registered. Now maybe they’re trying to protect something. But considering how many charge cards there are world wide, this is bad design.

        2. It’s people who don’t use PT and/or don’t know what they’re talking about that have to be a target for this sort of information – if the system is not attracting new users, it’s dying.

        3. The system is attracting new users, HOP card sales were dramatically up in the first few week of half price fares. Somehow these people were able to buy a card and get it topped up with the current set up.

        4. Yes, cash incentives are an effective way of getting people to find their way around all sorts of obstacles – but when that flood of cash subsides, the patronage deterrence of obstacles to Hop use will still be there.

  3. Isn’t the problem here the massive failure of Waka Kotahi to get the national ticketing programme up and running? 2026 for Auckland to get ticketing that allows contactless bank cards is laughable

    1. Love to see a bit of light thrown onto the “The National Ticketing Solution”

      Looking at the project website, it is maddening. Open loop systems were implemented overseas from ~2013.

      They set up the National Ticketing Established in February 2016 (about the time I heard they were hiring for this), they managed to come up with a project name after only 2 years.

      In 2021, they did a survey to understand what is required. Interesting data, but 5 years after starting work, they wanted to know what people prefer to use?

      In 2022, we appear to be no closer to actually having a working system. I presume though that over the last six years, that WK and the councils have burned through a lot of consultancy fees.

      This really needs WK board members (cough), to ask for explanations and nail down the project timelines.

      Would actually love to work on these sorts of projects and prioritize delivery and engaging feedback, but don’t think I would fit with the current WK culture.

      1. It’s disappeared into the Wellington black hole that kept cardboard tickets on trains decades after everyone else had gone electronic. No sense of urgency or consideration for PT users, just endless patch protection and drawn out ‘investigations’.

    2. By 2026 we may not have contactless bank cards anymore, we will have moved onto the next thing …

      The system needs to be agile, and simple to update, NZ probably needs to “own the code”

      1. I’ve seen the “own the code” argument applied inside an unnamed national airline I worked for. Buy an off the shelf solution is my view and do the job you’re there to do, without the burden of becoming a software developer.

        1. “own the code” does not have to mean write it yourself, it means own it, don’t pay shitty license fees for non mass market software, and have control of the code, independently audit the code etc

          NFC etc is not that complex. Most vendors are using obscurity and confusion to charge ridiculous fees for shit products. Current AT vendor included.

  4. This is really a minor issue.

    The train system, Ferry and busways (I think) are going to work pretty much exactly the same. Hop card or you use a ticket vending machine which they have on every platform.

    So this only affects the city busses, which overwhelmingly interface with the service centres (where you can buy cards). If the worst happens, and someone turns up to bus without a hop card driver will probably just let people and/or tell them about hop cards. From there it’s a google away (see the map below).

    https://atgis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=28198330322141bbb0ec5594640158f0

    Busses not having cash, makes the service better. AT providing a poor service is a far greater barrier to use than payment options.

    1. It’s may be a minor issue for those ready in the system, but it’s a major obstacle for the potential new users that every system needs to be attracting every single day.

      1. A “major obstacle” it’s not at all. It is a minor issue that is easily resolved and doesn’t even impact the main bits of PT. The cards are not hard to get, particularly in the places where people would need them.

        Cash not being used means that everyone gets a better service.
        Role out the Payewave or phone payments sure. But Bus drivers not having to fart around with token cashing handling, is huge positve.

        1. Your opinion re cards, Jak, but many will not share it. No other form of transport requires users to have a particular proprietary piece of plastic – how many people would use Uber if you had to have a special Uber card, and a different one in each city? It’s a significant psychological barrier – you have to make the effort to join a particular “club” – as well as a practical one.

          For standard fares, Hop-like cards are an unnecessary anachronism (but they are necessary for concessionary fares of all types, so they will continue to exist).

        2. “No other form of transport requires users to have a particular proprietary piece of plastic – how many people would use “

          Drivers license? This is a ridiculous point, hop cards are just a modern version of a ticket.

          It’s obviously my opinion, what else would it be. Most people that use ATs systems , use hop cards. Most people want better PT.

          Yes have digital payments, absolutely, I said that above. I have not idea why this is so hard for petrol heads at NZTA.

          In interim, not having cash allows for a better PT system. Bus drivers have difficult enough job without the added difficulty and risk if cash handling.

        3. “Drivers license? This is a ridiculous point, hop cards are just a modern version of a ticket.”

          A ticket which you *can’t* buy on the bus, the train or at most train stations. Your analogy is a bit weak.

          Just put tons of HOP card dispensing machines at major bus stations and into all trains. And really expand the programme to sell them in dairies – maybe by slightly subsidising the sale, so it’s income for the shopkeeper every time they sell one. It’s a cost, but those would be some key moves to get around the issues while keeping the on-vehicle situation cashless.

        4. A driver’s licence isn’t a proprietary piece of plastic, and it’s recognised all over the world. Try that with any system-specific transport smart card!

          And tickets – modern versions, or otherwise – as separate items (as opposed to something on your phone, for example) are vanishing, fast.

          “Most people that use ATs systems , use hop cards” – indeed, but even more people don’t use AT, and the need to go to the trouble to get a particular card will be a factor in their not changing that habit. But, like every other PT provider, AT needs them to do just that – and using any other means of transport does not require people to jump through such a hoop.

        5. Frederick

          You can still buy literal tickets at every single train station tho.

          You guys massively overestimating how bad the access to hop card is.

        6. The thing that still made getting a HOP card relatively easy was cash fares. You could start out by using cash, but if you take the bus a couple of times it is quite likely that you will come across one of those HOP retailers.

          The difference is that now you have to get to a HOP retailer first before getting on any bus. For example maybe you can catch some bus to the station. Before you could pay cash on that bus and then buy a HOP card at the station. Now you would have to walk all the way to the station first. And Auckland does not have the kind of street grid where people will happily walk for a kilometre.

          (by the way the map suggests that you can top up, but not buy HOP cards at most stations)

        7. Access to HOP cards – and therefore the discount it offers is still poor. On the Western Line you can buy one at New Lynn service centre but at no other train station in West Auckland – not even Henderson where you have to go into the mall and visit the Lotto Shop. Pretty poor that at a major bus and train station like Hendo they cannot provide on the spot access to HOP cards

        8. Arrived at LAX some years ago, discovered I (and each family member with me) needed a TAP card to use the LA transport system. Nowhere to buy these at the airport (hopefully there is now). But they let us use the shuttle bus to the nearest light rail station for free, and there we could purchase our TAP cards from a machine. Only US$1.00 per card, and a $5 top-up purchaseable as part of the same process gave us unlimited travel for the rest of the day within the metropolitan area. Once we got the system sussed it was OK, but it was pretty fraught for us non-locals just arriving.

          AT needs to drop the price of its Hop card to say $2.00 – or better still, give them out free. I hope they are available at Auckland Airport, The Strand and Papakura train stations, Auckland Intercity bus station, and any other point at which HOP-less non-locals might arrive.

        9. Agree you don’t need to use a card for Uber, you use a phone app. Why not do that for PT? How hard would it be? Open the app and scan a QR code to tag on, then click a button to tag off. I reckon I could write that app for AT for under a mil in less than 3 months (AT please reply below if interested!!)

        10. Dave B, Hop cards let you go into negative balance so you can travel on one journey and not get caught out if you have insufficient credit. That’s why they cost $10, it’s like a deposit effectively. If they were $2 you’d just get a new one for each trip and throw it away.

          If you want cheaper cards you have to remove the ability to go negative balance. But that means not being able to get home, or not being able to ride the bus to a top up loncation.

        11. It’s the 21st century, you can order HOP cards online, this nonsense about a “geographical issue” is so over the top. It’s a one off cost about the same currently as a cup of coffee. Cash on buses was a nightmare, good riddance to it.

  5. Is there a HOP retailer in both Airport Terminals yet – Domestic AND International, in a prominent place ? As with Heathrow or Gatwick, you need to have HOP (Oyster) vending machines at every point where newcomers to the system can readily purchase a Card. Is there a HOP dispenser at every single Railway station? And what about near every single Bus route? AT – getting HOPping!!

    1. But in London you don’t actually need Oyster vending machines everywhere because all you need is a contactless card (which is usable over a wider area than Oyster because of that card’s limitations).

      1. Mike – yes, you’re right, but if that is not happening for another 4 years, then we need a solution NOW. Obviously, Yes, we need to be able to use our phones to hold the App – that is vital, as nearly everyone has a smart phone these days, even the beggars on the streets have a smart phone – even aged grandmothers have smart phones – but for the remaining people who do not have a phone (including children and luddites), then we still need a HOP, Snapper, Oyster, Pearl, Myki etc. Because they are here now, and they work now, and they just need to be made more easy to purchase and find where to purchase them!

        1. Agreed – both AT (now) and WK (longer term, unfortunately) need to pull their fingers out, to fix this Hop failing and then replace it.

        2. “as nearly everyone has a smart phone these days, even the beggars on the streets have a smart phone – even aged grandmothers have smart phones”

          While this is true, with my data I see a fair bit of resistance to paying by phone. People get sick of installing apps and loading credit cards against those apps if they use them infrequently.

          I can’t share the data, but we see that something like a contactless card can have less friction to use than a phone app; ‘tap and go’ with a card, rather than unlocking phone, finding app.
          NFC enhancements do make it easier these days, but still find very few people always or mostly use phone, even if there are more people with app loaded and setup with payment, and (strangely) a lot of people who have downloaded/installed the app, but not setup payment.

          There is survey data here:
          https://www.nzta.govt.nz/assets/planning-and-investment/docs/national-ticketing/waka-kotahi-national-ticketing-research-report-april-2021.pdf

          About 93% of people have access to a smartphone, but less than 50% of people want to use it for payment

        3. Grant, that is a fair argument but I would say flawed. No PT service should be forcing the user to use a sepcific app to pay.

          iPhones and Samsungs both have ewallets, and features installed to make PT Easy. You can setup a default card on apple wallet for your PT payments to a point it doesn’t even require unlocking your phone.

          From iphone 7 (japan edition) and 8 onwards for the world. Even if your battery runs out, you can still use the iPhone to pay for PT.

          Techincally speaking you may require to install the app, to add the digital card to your wallet. However, to pay you don’t requite any unlocking, unless the user specifies this of course. I would say the survey would not be telling the users this info, and if they were aware I’m sure a lot more people would pay this way.

        4. London has accepted debit/credit/EFTPOS cards for nearly 10 years now, Singapore probably longer. It’s a joke that it could be another 4+ years until it MiGHT be available in Auckland/NZ.

          Just backs up the image that many people overseas have of NZ, it being a time warped backwater.

        5. Unfortunately HOP will never have this. Since the central government decided for a national ticketing system that’s not based on HOP, AT have stopped any development of the HOP product at all because it will all be replaced.

        6. average human – What happens to those with these Smart phones when 1] the network crashes , 2] when the battery runs flat through over use , 3] when the phone is drop and the screen is not readable anymore .
          Then we Luddites as you call use will still have a way to use PT by using the Plastic Hop , Bee , Snapper or whatever .

        7. And the thing I forgot to Add what if is Stolen as most people with these idiot phones are forever waving them around for all to see , you don’t do that with a card most people have it in their Wallet , Handbag or pocket .

        8. David L. Maybe ask the billions around the world who use apps, everyday, for cashless services.

          By all means consume yourself with situations why something wont work. Ignore all the benefits. So NZ.

        9. Grant, the way London does it is to amalgamate all usage each day into a single transaction, taking things like daily caps into account.

    2. I have commented on this before, but the difference is clear when you compare with say Melbourne

      My wife and I grabbed a couple of Myki card from a vending machine, that was cheap and had credit loaded up. Didn’t even use it that much, as the free tram zone around the city dealt with most of our jumping off/on light rail.

      Lost my Myki card, so last time I fly in, I brought another card from the airport. Though one black mark; no light rail from the airport and Skybus is a seperate system.

      In comparison, my wife got to Devonport and found she didn’t have her Hop card (daughter had acquired it) so went to buy another; and found she couldn’t at the ferry terminal. You had to walk up steep hill a km or so to a dairy.

      Its just weird, given that they have a top up machine, but no ability to purchase; even though there is a manned Fullers office selling paper tickets to Waiheke

      Pre-covid, saw plenty of tourists leaving the cruise ships and end up confused about the paper tickets for a Devonport excursion. I had to help a few confused elderly people who were trying to use use the Fullers pass to go through the electronic gates rather than get them clipped by staff

        1. But why should you have to go to the effort to find this out, and then do it?

          And what about people who get a lift/Uber/taxi from the airport, and later want to catch a bus/train/ferry?

          So many unnecessary obstacles…

        2. If the take cash, you need to go find an ATM.

          It’s bizarre how much of an issue you think this is.

        3. The difference with cash is that many people carry some of it because you can use it to pay many other things in many situations. Or they already have some of it at home.

          These days I don’t use cash often anymore, but the same argument applies to credit or debit cards.

          Whereas you almost certainly don’t have a HOP card if you are not already a regular PT user.

      1. Little hack to avoid the skybus, short walk to the 901 bus (hidden in a carpark behind terminal 4) and you can use standard myki to Broadmeadows train station for a cheap trip to the city.

        1. Good to know, but Melbourne seems to have PT well sorted other than this (and I was traveling for work so wasn’t motivated to save money so much).

          I was going to say that at least Auckland might access to the airport sorted, but between AT, WK and Auckland Airport (and the latter’s parking revenue), wouldn’t surprise me we make a mess of this.

          I guess one lesson learnt; connection to the airport for passengers is not as important as moving people around the inner city

      2. The Fullers ticket office at Devonport wharf used to sell Hop cards but they’ve fallen out with AT are being a bitch about it now

        1. That doesn’t surprise me, but as a consumer… ugggh

          Even more reason to buy a few card vending machines from overseas and stack them with some prepaid cards, or to reduce risk, just stack them with cards with $2 or less on them and put them beside the top up machine.

          I think a motivated private vendor would go one step further and give them away for free. After all, incremental cost per card is very low, and the worst that people could do with them is top them up and use them on PT

      3. When in Melbourne in March I found Myki to be almost as bad as Hop, not many retailers do top-up etc.

        Debit/credit/EFTPOS cards are the way to go, not smart phones or proprietary cards like Hop, Myki or Oyster.

    3. Here’s an idea, why don’t you look at the AT website with a long, long list of HOP card retailers including at the Domestic and International terminals. It even has directions and opening hours. That wasn’t so hard was it?

  6. I got stranded like this in Sydney. Their main bus lines only accept payment via some public transport card, but I was more than 2 kilometres away from anywhere I could buy them. And by virtue of being the main bus lines, any journey from any route planner always had at least one leg on those main bus lines.

  7. I’m not understanding how anybody, least of all a public body, can just decide it won’t take cash. When the Reserve Bank Act says money is legal tender – which it still does – surely it means just that?

    1. The concept of legal tender doesn’t come into it – that’s relevant only in connection with settling debts, which doesn’t apply to paying for PT trips.

      Any seller is free to choose what sort of payment it accepts for transactions, legal tender or no.

    2. Money being legal tender means you can pay debts with it, after you’ve already contracted to pay them, unless the contract requires you to pay another way. It doesn’t mean people are obliged to sell you goods and services in the first place. The only day-to-day scenario where you can be a dick about insisting on paying with cash and saying “it’s legal tender” is at a restaurant, where you incur the debt first and then pay the bill at the end. See https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/-/media/reservebank/files/publications/bulletins/2007/2007sep70-3mcbride.pdf

      1. It’s even less, technically legal tender only means that it must be accepted for the settlement of an outstanding debt that is ordered by a court.

  8. I still miss the Snapper Hop cards. Easy top up via NFC from my phone any time I needed.

    The lack of places to both buy and TOP UP a Hop card is baffling.

    1. Are you buying a new HOP card every week or something? Top up online, every rail station, bus station, ferry terminal, dozens of retailers. What’s hard about that?

      1. If you are a regular PT user in Auckland, you will have a HOP card with you, no problem there

        But every day there are new people arriving in Auckland; tourists, visitors, people coming here for work.

        And AT want to promote the use of PT; there is still an large number of
        people who don’t have a card. They might be walking somewhere or waiting for an Uber and somebody suggests they take the bus/train/ferry.

        It’s those people you want to make it very quick & easy to grab a card and go. Can you imagine a visitor to Auckland for a week, ordering one online and waiting (if my mail is anything to go on), over a week for it to arrive?

        Yes, you can search for a place to buy a HOP card (if you know what to search on), but there big areas with no vendor in easy walking distance.

        I know, because I have been there when my sister (a visitor to Auckland) wanted to go shopping in Silvia Park; I suggested the train from here accommodation and helped her get sorted with a card. Or my wife trying to buy a card at the Devonport Ferry terminal

  9. I find this really frustrating. Abolishing cash fares is necessary in order to have the best possible public transport system. However, we do not have the key infrastructure needed to enable us to abolish cash fares. Abolishing them now makes the system worse overall.

    This whole thing is yet another bad outcome from AT’s weird aversion to making it easy to top up cards: clunky online system, no top up machines anywhere, no retailers. Lots of people in the comments have made comparisons to London and Melbourne; in both of those cities top up stations and card retailers are everywhere. The online top up system in Auckland is also much worse than those cities.

    AT really should be installing ‘ticket machines’ at most bus stops. if they rationalised bus stops to always be near crossings and across the road from each other they could even get away with one machine for both stops!

  10. I wonder how much it would cost to develop a vending machine that can handle HOP cards, including topping them up with the value you determine. These are the kind of thing you need right at the bus stop at the airport. My original card still works but my daughter’s one was just replaced after it was taking about 30 secs to work.

    1. It would cost $0. We already have vending machines that disperse cards and the HOP cards can be pre-loaded before sale.

        1. I mean that they would need to buy them. The development cost would be $0, the implementation cost would be small.

        2. There are vending machines at most stations already, they sell drinks and snacks, and recently masks and hand sanitiser.
          Putting pre loaded cards into them is trivial.

    2. Surely the snack vending machines at a lot of train stations could be used for dispensing hop cards

      1. +1, AT might have to put the card in a carboard box to get that to work, but there is no reason it wouldn’t work.

        1. Or they could track down the old vending machines that sold signal packs of smokes , that were in Pubs and nightclubs , so there must be still some around .

      1. I don’t imagine it’s fear of them being stolen. With each card being unique, surely a simple merchandise tracking system would allow them to cancel any stolen cards.

  11. You top it up and then your bloody credit expires if you find use it in 60 days. Absolutely bloody insane.

    1. Did that with my other card which is a Bee and that was at the Beginning of the August lock down and the money was still there when I went to use in late December .
      And the money I put on it was usable in about an hour compared to Hop which can take up to 24/48hrs when done on line .
      And their usage results are usually online within around 6hrs after you have used it compared to Hop which takes 24hr for each transaction .

    2. Is that right? Stored value is lost if inactive after 60 days?

      I recently went to London and took along an Oyster card from 2015. Had about 4 pounds on it. Worked fine.

    3. It’s just any value topped up that you haven’t applied to the card by tagging on that expires in 60 days. If you have topped it up or an auto top-up triggers you should be good for a long time.

    4. David L re the timing for ferry or train usage: AT HOP readers or electronic gates at train stations and ferry terminals are connected to the internet, so they will download your online transaction within 1 hour.

      1. What i was saying if you want to check your balance at home with AT’s web site ut takes 24hrs to show , and the trips I did on the Te Huia today are online and showing and AT won’t be showing until tomorrow 24hrs after usage .

    5. The balance is refunded if you haven’t tagged on within 60 days. So tag on with 60 days and no problem.

  12. It’s 2022 WTF haven’t we got one card for all NZ yet, it’s not that hard

    You can buy a Snapper card in Wellington at > 200 locations, working and open HOP card retailers < 200. I thought Auckland was a bigger city than Wellington?

    Anyway, don't bother with card retailers, NFT cards cost cents each in bulk, give them out, and let people top them up for first time use online at home. Many phones have NFC reader/writers in them. Your phone can top up your card!

    1. In Hamilton they gave every Household a Bee Card so why ‘O’ why couldn’t AT do that or is to complicated for the overpaid experts that work there .

  13. I’m coming to AKL next week and planning to use my HOP while I’m there, which I haven’t used for 18 months when I was last there. It had $20 credit on it, at least (so I can use it to get to/from the airport into town) – are you guys saying that will have been wiped off the card???!?!!!! That’s just plain outright daylight robbery!

  14. The cards are also of poor quality. I have had 5 over the years that have simply stopped working Twice after being used successfully earlier in the day. Granted on all but one occasion (Devonport ferry) I was allowed to travel for free. the drivers can see that you have a Hop card and seem used to the scenario but it did mean buy a new card transfer the balance over etc.

    Cashless is great but make it easy.

  15. The reason that HOP cards ( and HOP top up terminals ) are not available at more retail locations, is that the previous HOP Team at AT signed up a number of low quality diaries with the offer of having an “exclusive territory”.

    They also resisted having prepaid HOP cards that would be available in more locations.

    Fortunately those gatekeepers have now left AT.

    However AT still has a contract with the provider of the existing HOP technology.

  16. Best part of living in a part of Auckland with no public transport – Old folks will happily give you their supergold card. You just need to wear a cheesecutter hat, and some plaid – no questions asked.

    Yep – not in any way true for me, but when our young ones travel at full cost, and property owning old folks PT for free (especially Waiheke ferry) then HOPS a CROCK.

  17. Since 2014 in London contactless bank cards have been accepted throughout the public transport system. If Transport for London could implement that across their huge, complex network 8 years ago, why can NZ not manage it now??

      1. How sad and pathetic. I used to be proud of NZ – our banking system for example was so far ahead of places like the UK. The idea that we MIGHT have by 2026 what London has had since 2014 makes this country seem like a backward hick country, or a just a joke.

        1. It’s swings and roundabouts though isn’t it. There will be many in the UK wishing they could have what NZ has now – MMP for instance. The question really is why are countries so reluctant to learn from each other, maybe because the big money seems to lie in project planning as opposed to delivery.

  18. I agree that not allowing cash or other non-Hop payme ts is a huge barrier to public tranaport uptake.

    On a recent trip to Waiheke Island, I was forced to fork out $50 for a taxi when it would have cost less than $5 for my family of 3 to catch the bus. All be cause we did not have hop cards and had no idea where or how to get them. I imagine this is a common issue for many tourists or other occasional bus users.

    1. So accessibility to Hop cards was the issue, not whether cash can be used.

      If people really insist on cash then the compromise is no change. No fluffing about by the driver. Drop you coins or notes in, must be at least the fare, then move on.

    2. Imagine a world in which AT executives were rewarded on growth in passenger numbers, along with passenger service ratings.

  19. Yeah they should add the hop card to apple wallet or google pay like in Australia or the us so it is easy to load and use on the phone with tap and pay

    1. If they can do it with the Paper tickets at the barriers to the Railway station why can’t they have it set up for a phone device also .

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