Cash fares will not be accepted on Auckland's public buses as of Monday following the impact of the coronavirus.

Auckland Transport announced the decision this afternoon in a bid to reduce physical contact between customers, staff and bus drivers.

The total number of Covid-19 cases in New Zealand is now 28, said Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield.

There were eight new cases today alone but there is still no evidence of community transmission in New Zealand.


Currently, 93 per cent of bus passengers in Auckland paid with AT Hop cards - with total Hop usage around 98 per cent, AT reported.

"If a customer was planning to buy a paper ticket to travel they will instead be given a free AT Hop card for their journey," the organisation said.

"These AT Hop cards will be limited in quantity and for those who only carry cash.

"Customers are further encouraged to top-up their cards online using the AT website or AT Mobile app."

The usually busy March period had seen public transport numbers decline due to a number of factors attributable to the virus outbreak.

Factors included bus driver strikes, major cancellations of events and international students being denied access to New Zealand.

However, AT said there was no reason why people should stop using public transport due to the virus, comments reiterated by the mayor earlier this week.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said a number of precautions had been put in place by AT, including the installation of hand sanitiser stations.


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"The latest advice from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Transport is that there is no reason at this stage to stop using public transport," he said.

"People should continue to follow all guidelines issued by the Government.

"In particular, wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, cover coughs and sneezes and, for the time being, avoid normal greetings such as shaking hands."

What has AT put in place following the virus outbreak?

• Asking Aucklanders to follow the Ministry of Health's guidelines on self-isolation.

• Giving personal hand sanitisers to frontline staff and reminding them that washing and drying hands is still the most effective means of practising good hygiene.

• Cleaning AT buses, trains and ferries on a regular basis and stepping up the cleaning of surfaces like handrails. AT has also identified plans to carry out even more extensive cleaning of buses, trains, ferries and facilities if recommended by the Ministry of Health.

• Building 14 new public hand sanitiser stands to install at key locations across the transport network.* All toilets across AT's transport network are also being fitted with hand sanitiser dispensers.

• Making sure information and advice from the Ministry of Health on preventive measures are being supplied to staff, operators and contractors. The frequency of these updates has increased since the first confirmed Covid-19 case in New Zealand was reported.

• Displaying Ministry of Health posters regarding Covid-19, as well as hand hygiene, in offices, buses, trains, ferries and other facilities.

• Creating a Covid-19 section of AT's website, which it will continue to update with the latest information, also asking commuters to follow @akltransport for the latest updates on Twitter.