Auckland Transport is in the firing line over its handling of the HOP-card debacle from Mayor Phil Goff and senior councillors.

AT dug in its heels and said it will not fix a bug in the card at this stage after Goff yesterday tried to haul the so-called council-controlled organisation into line, leaving the mayor look weak and ineffective.

Goff responded to the snub today by writing to AT chairman Lester Levy, telling him to "advise me of short- and long-term solutions to the problem" and reminding him of AT's responsibility to customer concerns.

AT is meant to serve the public, not rip them off or inconvenience them

Councillor Desley Simpson said it was shocking that 16,000 HOP card users stood to lose $342,000 a year on their cards, and to hear AT's response.

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"They are the servants of the people. Saying they will do nothing is not acceptable to the people of Auckland and me," Simpson said.

Councillor Mike Lee, who initiated the hugely successful HOP card when he chaired the former Auckland Regional Council, said the bug can and should be fixed.

"AT is meant to serve the public, not rip them off or inconvenience them," Lee said.

Chris Darby - the councillor responsible for transport issues - said there were clearly some technical issues that need to ironed out and suggested it could be part of further improvements to the card, now used by about 1.2 million people.

Phil Goff has gone over the heads of bureaucrats to tackle AT chairman Lester Levy on the HOP card debacle
Phil Goff has gone over the heads of bureaucrats to tackle AT chairman Lester Levy on the HOP card debacle

Today, AT refused to answer new questions on the issue, telling the Herald it had nothing further to add.

The French conglomerate that developed the $87 million HOP card contract, Thales, referred questions on the issue to a junior member of AT's media team, James Ireland.

The Herald asked Ireland to ask Thales if they have the ability to fix the bug. He did not respond to the request.

The problem does not affect the 85 per cent of HOP card customers who use top-up machines or an automatic top up.

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AT has said 15 per cent of HOP card users topped up online and 97.4 per cent of those tagged on within 60 days