New card for passengers of trains, ferries

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

File photo / Chris Skelton
File photo / Chris Skelton

Auckland Transport is introducing a new Hop card for passengers on trains, ferries and eventually buses, just days after dumping the former electronic card supplier, Snapper.

The new "AT Hop" card will come into use on trains from October 28 and on ferries from November 30.

It is not yet known exactly when it will be available for use on buses, but in the meantime, those passengers with the old Snapper Hop card will be able to continue using their cards - as transport officials work to get an integrated ticketing system sorted.

Around 200,000 Aucklanders currently own a Snapper Hop card.

Auckland Transport has already started advertising its new-look card, which is blue and has a somewhat more sophisticated design than the current Snapper Hop card.

In a message posted online by Auckland Transport to its customers, it said it was in its final stages of getting the city ready for a fully integrated ticketing system.

It said a new, prepaid smart card would be Auckland's single card for travel, but at the moment there were two cards.

"There will be two Hop cards in Auckland for a period of time: the AT Hop card for use on trains and ferries and the Hop Snapper card for use on NZ Bus services.

"There will be no change to how you currently use your Hop Snapper card on NZ Bus services, but eventually your Hop Snapper card will be phased out and replaced for free with the new AT Hop card when NZ Bus services become part of the integrated ticketing system."

Wellington-based company Snapper Services was dropped from Auckland's big integrated ticketing project after an announcement late on Friday.

Auckland Transport head David Warburton said the "regrettable decision" came after a conclusion that the company would not be able to modify its system in time to make it compliant with technology being developed by French firm Thales.

Snapper chairwoman Rhoda Phillippo yesterday slammed the decision, saying the announcement was made in an unprofessional manner and came as a complete surprise to the company.

"Right up until lunchtime on Friday we thought that we were working with Auckland Transport on a way forward. So you can imagine the news that came out on Friday evening was a bit of bombshell.

"Midday Friday, David Warburton and I were discussing how we could go forward professionally. We got the legal letter from Auckland Transport just after 5pm ... so it just all felt unprofessional."

Ms Phillippo said the company had proven itself in its successful work with integrated ticketing schemes in public transport in Wellington.

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee said earlier last week that he simply wanted to see an integrated ticketing system that worked.

Yesterday a spokesman said the minister was not making any further comments about the situation.

AT HOP CARD

October 28: Start date for use on trains
November 30: Start date for use on ferries
No start date for use on buses.

- NZ Herald

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