Auckland Transport is to start automatically refunding people who have topped up their Hop travel card balance online, but haven't tagged on using their card for 60 days, before the end of the year.

In an email to customers the public transport company said from December 20 the balance on dormant cards would be refunded to individual bank accounts.

The same applied to any pass that was not activated through an electronic gate or bus within a two-month window.

The move comes after public and political criticism over money frozen on Hop cards of about 16,000 users.

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Customers found themselves unable to tag on buses and trains despite previously topping up their Hop card.

The balance disappeared when Hop cards were topped up online but not used within 60 days.

Customers were still able to use the expired balance but had to call the company to have the money re-instated on their cards.

In September Phil Goff raised concerns with Auckland Transport over the bug. A number of measures were agreed to solve the issue including a warning on line telling people they needed to tag on within 60 days, automatic refunds and the introduction of a credit card or mobile phone system to tag on and off public transport.

Since May last year and April this year, up to $342,000 worth of transactions have been sitting with Auckland Transport at some point, including money that was reinstated.

Money on Hop cards becomes invalid if the card remains unused for six years.