Two cards, or riders may be left hopping

By Mathew Dearnaley

Photo / APN
Photo / APN

Central Auckland bus passengers are having to carry two smartcards - both confusingly called Hop - to guarantee cash-free travel for the next few weeks.

Auckland Transport says that passengers travelling on central routes should keep carrying the purple Snapper Hop card introduced in 2011 by NZ Bus, as well as its own new dark-blue AT Hop card, during a transition between separate ticketing systems.

That is because some North Star buses, which are operated by NZ Bus from North Shore and were switched from Snapper to Auckland Transport's new $100 million AT Hop system last week, are also being used at odd hours to make up numbers on central city runs - causing confusion and inconvenience to passengers not armed with both cards.

Westmere resident Richard Dale is unhappy at being kicked off a bus after heading to the city on a Snapper Hop card but being asked to produce an AT Hop for a return trip three hours later on the same 020 route via Richmond Rd.

"The driver refused to let me on with my Snapper card and, because I didn't have any cash, kicked me off," he said.

Auckland Transport spokeswoman Sharon Hunter said the council body sent mass emails to those who had registered their Snapper cards, advising them of the impending changeover.

But after checking why the Herald's transport reporter had not received such customer updates, despite being registered, she said passengers must also tick a box asking to be kept informed about the replacement AT Hop version.

Hop, Hop

Snapper Hop card

Introduced by NZ Bus in 2011 for use on its buses only (but no longer on North Star).

AT Hop

Auckland Transport's official smartcard. Can already be used on trains, ferries and some buses (Urban Express, Birkenhead Transport and North Star). Will be extended progressively to remaining NZ Bus services by the end of the year.

- NZ Herald

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