Auckland Transport is assuring Hop card users arriving in the city on trains or buses of an entitlement to discounts if transferring to CityLink buses.
The council body is doubling the cash fare for the short-haul buses to $1 from March 29 and imposing a 50c charge for Hop card users now able to ride them free.
But a 50c discount for card-holders transferring from or to trips on trains or other buses will negate the new fares for those ending or starting their travel on CityLink services.
Cash fare rises of 50c for one and two-stage bus and train trips, and increases of 10c and 5c respectively for Hop card users travelling those distances, have met with mix responses from transport lobby groups while being condemned by Auckland Council infrastructure committee chair Mike Lee.
Although Auckland Transport says cheaper fuel has been outweighed by rising labour costs, Mr Lee said yesterday there could be no excuses for fare rises at a time of such low inflation.
Asked about a 2 per cent pay rise just gained by NZ Bus drivers, he said private providers of public transport should absorb such costs as an offset against lower fuel bills.
"Public transport fares should be going down - not up."
The coordinator of Auckland's new Public Transport Users' Group, Jon Reeves, also says the fare rises risk undermining a goal of doubling patronage of trains, buses and ferries.
"We shouldn't worry about comparing fares with other cities, other countries, other planets," he said.
"We need to look at public transport users here in Auckland - we need to have a lot more of them."
But Campaign for Better Transport convenor Cameron Pitches is happy there will be little impact on Hop card users except to provide more incentive for other passengers to switch to cashless travel, and therefore shorten trip times for everyone.
"The more people we have using the Hop card the better, because the moment you have someone using cash,it just slows everyone down."
Tramways Union president Gary Froggatt also welcomed the extra incentive, saying a discount of at least 20 per cent for Hop users made bus drivers safer by reducing their cash takings.
• New CityLink bus fare for Hop card users - 50c (currently zero).
• Discount for Hop card users transferring to or from CityLink services, from or to buses or trains - 50c