Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has instructed Auckland Transport to address concerns over a bug with the HOP card after howls of protest.
Goff says a technology issue that freezes money on some HOP cards if they are not activated within 60 days is "clearly is not best practice" and left people unhappy.
The mayor revealed to the Herald that about 16,000 HOP card customers are affected and he expects AT bureaucrats to work on the principle that customers generally are always right.
Getting a black eye from the public over a technology limitation they can't understand is never worth it
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Every day, 44 people have their money frozen and are forced to go through the inconvenience of making a call to AT to fix the problem.
In a statement, AT said it was not looking to make any changes to the HOP terms and conditions at this stage.
These include a 60-day rule that sees balances disappear if people top-up their HOP card online and do not tag on at an AT HOP reader within 60 days.
The problem does not affect the 85 per cent of HOP card customers who use top up machines or an automatic top up.
Herald readers labelled the 60-day rule as "third word", a "rip off" and way behind other cities; Grey Power said it was another "kick in the guts " for the elderly; and Herald technology columnist Juha Saarinen said it is time for a tech upgrade.
"Getting a black eye from the public over a technology limitation they can't understand is never worth it," Saarinen said.
Goff said he had asked AT to look at a number of options, including extending the 60-day time limit, whether frozen funds can be unfrozen automatically, implementing a credit card tag on the system, and a better warning system.
In its statement, AT said it was going to make the wording clearer on its website to ensure customers are aware of it when they top up.
"All customers who top up online receive emails notifying them about this and it is not unusual in terms of other systems around the world."
AT said Auckland is likely to adopt a credit and debit card system to tag on and off, similar to what is used in London.
It said this will be useful for visitors to Auckland and occasional users who are more likely to be affected by expired top-ups.
AT said online top ups are done on 15 per cent of HOP cards and 97.4 per cent of those tag on within 60 days.