HOP Clarified Again


It’s at the end of next year that that all Auckland’s bus, all ferry and all rail will be on the HOP ticket.

By then, you will be using only HOP not Snapper to board public transport.

Auckland Transport is continuing to try to clarify the confusion about the HOP card especially that HOP will become the single card - the Snapper Card will not be the transport card of the future but can be used for purchases at Subway and the like - as it can now.

Sharon Hunter, Manager, AT’s Manager External Communications has these latest answers to our questions.
What is the agreement between AT and Snapper?

HOP is Auckland’s public transport brand, Snapper is the small purchase brand.

Why is there no big bang rollout?

International experience shows that the big bang approach in rolling out a smartcard does not work.

What exactly is the phased timetable?

AT’ has a three phase approach.

  • The introduction of Auckland’s transport brand- HOP- accompanied by a swap out of Go-Rider cards for HOP cards. Use on NZ Bus buses- very shortly. (NZ Bus chose Snapper for its technology on its buses. The technology had to be and is compliant with the national standards NZTA is putting together). This includes an interim card.
  • At the end of this year- in a few months- rail and some ferry will be added to the mix= true integration as opposed to a bus card- using Thales technology- at this stage the Snapper component is null and void- it is a bus pass. The interim HOP card is swapped out for an updated card.
  • At the end of 2012- all bus, all ferry and all rail are on the HOP ticket- all powered by Thales technology.

Why does it take so long?

Thales was awarded the integrated ticket at the end of 2009- in comparison to other international cities, three years to implement will be a top of the line achievement.

What about a zonal fare system. That’s what we want as well.

Following the full introduction of the HOP card- AT will look at a zonal fare system. Best international practice says never introduce the two together.

I use a small Auckland bus company. Will that become part of HOP?

Oh yes they all sure will be- so train end of this year in a few months- some ferry, NZ Bus- for Phase two. But by the  final phase- ALL train, ALL bus, ALL ferry. We started discussions with all operators some time ago re all of this and the phasing.

Can I use the HOP card nationwide?

NZTA is looking at the whole national standards situation with a view to a national solution- in time. Auckland transport’s HOP card is the first true integrated ticket for New Zealand.




  1. Gus says:

    “NZ Bus chose Snapper for its technology on its buses. The technology had to be and is compliant with the national standards NZTA is putting together”

    Sorry, if this is true, remind me again why we need to change cards?

  2. Kegan says:

    “Auckland transport’s HOP card is the first true integrated ticket for New Zealand.”
    Why isn’t Christchurch’s Metrocard a ‘true integrated ticket’. Valid on bus & ferry, zonal fare structure, time based tickets, penalty free transfers, daily and weekly fare caps …

  3. Kegan says:

    @ Gus
    I think thats just refering to the readers and fare computers. Change in cards will be something to do with the back office side of things.

  4. Andrew says:

    @Gus I think they’re talking about the readers which are compliant with the upcoming HOP clearinghouse, not the current batch of cards.

    This is how I interpret it:

    Stage 1 (Now): HOP brand launched using Snapper cards (although labelled as HOP, let’s call it fake-HOP). NZ Bus installing readers that can read Snapper (or fake-HOP) cards and the not-yet-released “true” HOP cards. Linked to Snapper payment clearinghouse.

    Stage 2: HOP payment system launched properly with its own “true HOP” cards. Readers at train stations, and NZ Bus readers will then link to HOP payment clearinghouse instead of Snapper. Cards swapped, readers just reprogrammed.

    Stage 3: HOP readers extended to other bus, ferry operators.

  5. Cam says:

    This is all Snapper’s fault. AT had to move to ensure they did not ambush the process and cause brand confusion as they were going to roll Snapper out regardless.

    Yes they have powers under the PTMA but how do you think the minister would react if they tried to use them to mandate this on Snapper? So effectivley that was always a no go.

    They have made the best of a bad situation given what action was available.

  6. Doloras says:

    “This is all Snapper’s fault.”

    +1. Good to see that message coming through. I am so sorry for AT having to grin and bear their way through all these endless but necessary compromises and fudges.

  7. Sharon Hunter (Auckland Transport) says:

    A correction: The technology is required to be compliant with national standards set by NZTA. Snapper is currently working towards being compliant with these standards.

  8. Doloras, Cam

    AT and Snapper are working together to make HOP happen earlier than planned.

    There is currently no other bus solution in NZ that will be compliant to the National Standard. We hope that there will be.

    On top of that, we have found that the combination of Public Transport and small value payments cards means people are more likely to make spontaneous use of Public Transport. Very clearly a good thing.

    Our very clear and stated objective is to drive an increase in Public Transport patronage in Auckland.

    We think that working together with AT will achieve that.

    Looking forward to your feedback once Phase 1 of Hop is up and running.


  9. Matt L says:

    Miki - Most people around here are fairly suspicious of Snappers intentions after they way tried to derail the plans in the past by challenging the tender. If Snapper/Infratil are actually working together with AT to get the best outcome for PT users and ratepayers then that is a good thing but it will take some time as well as positive actions and results for many to believe that the company has turned a corner and changed its attitude to a more constructive one.

  10. AKT says:

    @Miki Thanks for popping by with that.

  11. Cam says:

    “Our very clear and stated objective is to drive an increase in Public Transport patronage in Auckland”

    I thought your clear and stated objective was to get Snapper into the Auckland market because without it Snapper would be “subeconomic”

    That’s what this is all about after all isn’t it? and why despite losing the tender process you then held the project up by complaining about the tender process despite it appears having little justification in doing so.

    It looks like AT had no choice but to strike a deal with you because otherwise Snapper could have undermined the process and made it even more confusing for PT users than it already is.

    As I said before good on AT they have made the best of a less than ideal situation.

  12. Mike says:

    “This is all Snapper’s fault” - yes, it’s Snapper’s fault that Auckland at last has up-to-date electronic ticketing, several years behind other main centres.

    Three or so years ago Infratil (love ‘em or hate ‘em) introduced electronic tickerting to Wellington, in a move that cost passsengers, taxpayers and ratepayers nothing (except for the card fee). Several years down the track NZTA/AT is doing similar, costing the taxpayer millions.

    If Snapper hadn’t taken the initiiative, when would electronic ticketing in Auckland have happened/

    But as for Snapper’s/AT’s marketing, absolutely no comment.

  13. Matt L says:

    Mike - ARTA put a tender out quite some time ago and Snapper put a bid in which would have cost the city/taxpayers nothing but even so it didn’t win the tender as it wasn’t as good as other solutions. After losing the tender Snapper/Infratil complained about the tendering process and challenged it via a variety of means and each one was obviously unsuccessful but it ended up delaying the project by at least a year.

    I would say that had they not challenged the tender and accepted that they weren’t as good as the Thales system that won then we would have had this system rolled out already. Also while it is costing NZTA/AT money to setup, they will have control of the float which is the money people store in credit on the cards, that will be a substantial sum of money and AT will be able to do things like collect interest off it. It is the reason why Snapper were offering their system for free as they knew how valuable that float will be.

    Another thing is it would also be very hard to get other bus operators to sign up for system run by the sister company of their major competitor.

  14. Cam says:

    @Mike - you seem very uninformed about what has happened here. Snapper has nothing to do with integrated ticketing being introduced into Auckland. This is a project that has been underway for years, all they have done is slow it down and make it more difficult.

    As Matt L pointed out had they not slowed the tender process down we would be much further ahead on this project than we are.

    There is nothing integrated about Snapper bus cards in Wellington they are just a stored value electronic bus ticket. Not an integrated ticketing system.

  15. Mike says:

    @cam - at least I’m informed enough to know that Snapper has a lot to do with integrated ticketing in Auckland - otherwise how could it (whatever “it” may be!) possibly be “all their fault”?

    Leaving personal comments aside, the situation is clearly much more complicated that blaming (rather simplisticly) just one party. Snapper bears some responsibility - but NZTA, and AT & its predecessors, are the ones who make the decisions in a commercial environment, so that’s where full responsibility really lies. (Any decent risk analysis would have looked at the consequences of the tendering process.)

    And I never said that Snapper was integrated (though it does have that capability, so far unrealised) - but AT marketing its card as the first incarnation of its integrated Hop card certainly implies something!

  16. Cam says:

    You’re missing the point here Mike. Snapper lost the tender and then forged ahead anyway which meant AT had to cut a deal so that there was not a perception that there were two competing cards.

    What are you talking about risk analysis? All public contracts have to go out to tender. It’s not like they just could have bypassed that. Plus the inquiry found there was absolutley nothing wrong with the tender process.

    A leaked document from infratil quoted a member of management saying that they had to roll Snapper in Auckland or else it would become sub economic and they would have to abandon it. So they have rolled it our regardless. Meaning AT had to do the deal with them to label the current cards Hop, which will all have to be swapped out at the end of the year, which is what is currently causing confusion.

    BTW “it” is the fact that we will have to swap out all of the these current hop cards when the real deal rolls out later this year.

  17. Nick Warner says:

    The confusion isn’t helped by SnapperTeam on Twitter promoting HOP as a snapper card and suggesting that the Snapper card will be interchangeable with a HOP card


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