HOP Questions, Comments


One week on from the introduction of the HOP smartcard for public transpor,t Auckland Transport is already hailing it a success.
It says the introduction of the first phase of the new card on NZ Bus North Star services has been successful.
As measures of the success it lists:

  • More than 17,000 HOP cards have been issued
  • there have been 59,000 visits to the MYHOP website
  • 130 retail outlets are operational
  • 137 North Star buses have been converted over to  HOP

It won’t be until the end of this year-rail and some ferry will be added to the mix (A HOP helper told me the other day she thought trains were mid- next year!). At the end of 2012- all bus, all ferry and all rail are on the HOP ticket- all powered by Thales technology.
The next phase of the smartcard project sees the migration of Go West and Waka Pacific bus services on May 22 . GO Rider cardholders will receive a free HOP card and will be able to transfer any balance remaining onto that card after their service changes over, up until June 11.
Those who are not Go Rider card holders can purchase a HOP card at selected retailers displaying the HOP and Snapper sign or at Britomart, New Lynn or Newmarket service centres.
Tag posts have begun appearing on train stations as shown in these AKT photos.
Auckland Transport Chief Executive David Warburton calls the figures quoted above “great statistics proving that the HOP brand has quickly adopted by the public.”




  1. Steve says:

    We mainly use the Northern Pass (Lower Zone) which gives us bus travel around the lower North Shore and into the CDB and a couple of places beyond. I don’t see anything about the HOP card being able to handle zone-based passes of this type. maybe I missed it. What I won’t be doing is paying $4 here and $5 there for multiple bus trips to one destination. If that’s what HOP is “masking”, then I won’t be a HOP user. Without the fixed-price passes for unlimited use in a given time period, riding a bus everywhere would empty my wallet faster than a pick-pocket.

  2. Jamee says:

    And here again West Auckland is being left till last. Not in regards to the HOP being operational on GO West buses, but with it coming into effect on sunday, of all the 130+ HOP retailers so far, there is not a single one in west auckland. It’s bad enough we have the most useless bus services in auckland and nwe also have to put up with stupid things like this as well. It just goes to show how Auckland’s past and present councils have made it pretty clear that west aucklanders are somehow less important. I’m not the only one who thinks this.

  3. richard says:

    Steve has asked one of the questions I have about these cards. If they are not going to give you one fare per total trip if transfers are required they are a total waste of time! Fares in Melbourne have done this for years i.e. one fare up to two hours if within the same zone.

  4. Joshua says:

    richard - it’s coming, they are rolling out the smart card system first, then in 2012 the new fare system will be implemented.

    They are following international best practice with the roll out. Unfortunately, that means we will need to wait for a bit longer.

  5. Andrew says:

    Auckland Transport have differentiated between integrated ticketing and integrated fares. Integrated fares aren’t happening until all operators are on the same ticketing system first.

    Not how I personally think it should have been done under ideal conditions (I would prefer to have seen the Northern Pass expanded citywide first, then the smartcard after that with per-operator fares excluded from the smartcard), but now the rollout has begun, changing it would now only delay everything just like Joyce did with electrification funding.

  6. Olivia says:

    I’m catching the train from New Lynn tomorrow for a change, I think I’ll get a hop card while I’m there.

  7. Matt L says:

    Olivia - Do you usually catch the bus or drive? if you catch a bus then you will more than likely need one so as Go West buses swap over on 22/05. If you drive and just catch the train occasionally then I would recommend holding off until the rail system ticketing goes live. In the future, either later this year or sometime next year, all of the current HOP cards will need to be swapped out for ones compatible with the actual integrated system. The current tickets are just rebranded snapper and won’t work with the Thales system which is providing the integrated back end.

  8. Kurt says:

    There was an excellent article in the Sunday Star Times yesterday (15/0511) about the pitfalls of the Snapper Card. Amongst the highlights (or low-lights) was that the cards should not be carried around with another similar card, the inference being that it may cause the card to malfunction.

    The cards should not be carried in pockets or wallets and they should not be bent at all.

    If you loose it, or if it malfunctions you lose everything. In other words all risk is on the user.

    Cash stored on it bears no interest.

    And buried in the 8000 word terms and conditions was that Snapper can change the rules without notice at any time.

    I question what advantages does this card give the user (apart from paltry discounts) especially as its dreamed up by an investment firm who owns the public transport its intended to be used on and who are not known for wanting to share their generosity with the public.

  9. Andrew J says:

    @ Jamee, West Auckland is not last. Metrolink changes over after Go West does!

    As for this. I still fail to see how this is a success. How many of the punters realise they will have to change to new cards later this year? The Snapper Hops are not perminant.

  10. Alex says:

    @Jamee - Lobby your local retailers, it’s not Auckland Transport’s fault no stores have stepped forward to say they want to accept Hop/Snapper as a payment type (and thus top up/sell cards etc)!

  11. Andrej says:

    Andrew, that’s what I think of:

    “Auckland Transport have differentiated between integrated ticketing and integrated fares. Integrated fares aren’t happening until all operators are on the same ticketing system first.”

    I expect this will happen from once all operators are on hop, i.e. from late 2012 as it would be more understandable for travellers coming to Auckland and using PT for sure.

  12. Jamee says:

    @Andrew - You read it wrong. I was referring to west auckland being the last to have HOP retailers as we still don’t have any.

  13. Scott says:

    Jamee, I don’t think its auckland transports fault at all, perhaps snapper were more interested in the CBD with there initial launch. Your right it sucks to have to not have any local top up dairy (I think some malls will have them during the transition time).

    I think Alex has a good idea. Ask your fave dairy to consider it. They get paid 25c for each top up I think, plus more foot traffic means more impulse purchases.

    “If you are interested in selling HOP products, please call Snapper’s Call Centre on 0800 555 345 for more details or send your contact details to [email protected] and someone will be in contact with you shortly”

  14. Kansas says:

    I for one commend the new and improved Auckland Council and Auckland Transport for coming this far in terms of public transport. By the end of 2012 we will have a reliable and efficient integrated system. I could never have imagined this happening 5 years ago. Yay Auckland ♥

  15. George D says:

    Late 2012. We’ll get it eventually, if the world doesn’t end first.

  16. Nick says:

    Joshua - I thought that international best practice was to integrate fares and with that ticketing and then introduce the new technology, this is the way it’s been done in every city I can think of.

    Although of course most of these cities had integrated fares and ticketing about 30 years ago and smartcards for about ten years so perhaps this is the way to do it when you’ve put absolutely no thought into PT for 50 years and end up doing everything on the hop (get it!!)

  17. Kegan says:

    @Jamee, @Scott

    The Hop website doesn’t seem to be kept up to date as far as retailers are concerned. Snapper’s website suggests these locations out west:

    - Domain Dairy - 541 Blockhouse Bay Rd, Blockhouse Bay
    - Mezbaan - 1 / 264 Swanson Rd, Swanson
    - Patel & Patel Superette - 1 Keeling Rd, Henderson
    - Royal Heights Dairy - 11 / 138 Royal Rd, Massey East
    - Super Saver Food Market - 38 St Georges Rd, Avondale
    - The Punters Dairy - 1897 Great North Rd, Avondale
    - The Sweet Factory - W506A Lynn Mall, New Lynn
    - Titirangi Super Seven - 84 Titirangi Rd, New Lynn
    - Veolia New Lynn - New Lynn Train Station, 2 Clark Rd

  18. Matt L says:

    Kegan - Still pretty poor, only one in all of Henderson

  19. Jamee says:

    I rang MY HOP, yesterday, Still no retailers in west auckland where you can buy A HOP Card. The retailers where you top up are different to the retailers that you can buy a Hop Card.

  20. Jamee says:

    @Kegan, As I said above. The lady at My HOP said try tomorrow and after, still not good enough.

  21. Jacky says:

    Hey hey
    Guess what I saw at Onewa Road heading Birkenhead tonight…
    One of the bus shelter heading to city way, I saw Ready Get Hop Big poster… Is that an error or is it Hop really coming early as anticipated?


  22. Jacky says:

    I am on the other run with the North Star buses
    It looks great!! Seems everybody getting used to it

    3 days to go for Go West, Wakapacific buses users.. If North Shore people can use it, you guys should find it easy too…

  23. Owen Thompson says:

    Jacky seems like a PR nerd.

  24. Jacky says:

    I actually don’t mind about that….
    It is my personality…

  25. Jacky says:

    Hey guys
    Yes u can indeed use the Auckland Hop Card at Wellington

  26. Jacky says:

    Hey All…

    I was in Wellington on the weekend, of course have been using the public transport over there….

    I did use my HOP card from Airport to Courtney Place, they are using the same machine as what the Auckland buses are now, but it is Blue.. Auckland buses are orange colour

    The tag on and tag off machine, instead of showing our Hop n Snapper logo, it is only a whole of the Snapper logo

    I have no problem at all using the HOP card over here, it just deduct like as at all Snapper card do.

    I certainly hope that our HOP card going to be a permanent card and we don’t have to be limit at Auckland only haha


  27. A Levin says:

    As per the myhop.co.nz website, plus “Hop” leaflets and posters, Waka Pacific buses were to change to HOP on May 22nd, 2011.

    On May 26th, travelling between Auckland CBD and Royal Oak, I saw that only a few Waka Pacific buses have actually changed over to HOP. Most have NOT.

    Those of us who heeded the info posted on http://www.myhop.co.nz (often inaccessible, btw) and exchanged our “Go Rider” cards for HOP cards were inconvenienced. I had to pay in cash, an unexpected expense for which I had not budgeted and which left me out of pocket.

    When are ALL Waka Pacific buses going to change to HOP?

    Are there going to be similar problems with Metrolink and Link buses?

  28. Scott says:

    All wakapacific buses should have transfered, all that Ihave seen have. Lay a complant with maxx, although expect them to take 2 weeks to get back to you.

  29. Cu says:

    Are we actually going to need to swap out our cards again when the Thales system comes into play for rail etc..?
    I was assuming it would just be a software change for the backend.

    Also, has anyone noticed a ridiculously large proportion of people having to ‘try again’ when they scan their cards? I use GoWest services and I;d say roughly 30% of people have to do this. I let my card read through my wallet and it’s worked every time so far. Having said that, I’ve only used the hop-enabled services about 7-8 times, so it could just be luck.

    Felt sorry for some of the people who got their go rider cards ‘swapped’ rather than ‘punched’ and having to pay cash fares when the Metrolink buses turn up instead of the go west buses. I wish there was a nicer transition or better information about the two systems. When I asked the Maxx reseller/dairy thingy on Victoria St what I was supposed to do if I had two different bus services coming past my area (metro + gowest) he told me I had to get another bus card. At the time i didn’t know about the whole ‘punching system’ because i had inferred from the HOP website that we actually have to swap/forfeit our GoRider cards to get the new HOP cards. Luckily I never bought another one and found out about the punching system later that day from the HOP helpers at uni.

    On the upside, I love the way I can see all my journeys and what time I embark/disembark. Now if only i could export those times to excel =P

  30. KevinP says:

    I like the system - its easy to use, and the online account shows a good amount of travel info (time on and off, route, etc).

    A couple of things I’ve noted since its introduction - It seems slower to hop off buses now - you have to wait for people to hold and beep their cards, and if people do it too fast, it bleeps and says to try again - so then you wait for that person to correct their tag off.

    On another note - my wife got a penalty last week, even though she swears that she tagged off the bus that it claims the penalty was for…

    I’m wondering if the tagging is somehow related to bus route number. She was at the New Lynn station, and buses tend to change their routes at this interchange - When drivers have to wait at lights just before, they often have the habit of switching the route over so they can just load up after the light goes green and they pull into the stop…

    I dunno - just a thought on that one.

    But I think this will really shine once everything else gets the system (trains, ferries) - Lets hope the other bus companies do as well - I’ve been sick of the “Ritchies / Stagecoach” bus passes not being compatible with each other…

  31. Simon says:

    I`m not getting a hop card till rail and the ferries come onboard late this year after the RWC and when people with the NZ Bus hop cards will have to swap them to new cards which are operable with Thales operating system anyway.

    And Jacky, once the new cards come in, you won`t be able to use them in Wellington either.

  32. Nick Warner says:

    I saw a lady getting off a North Star bus in Ponsonby, while she was fumbling in her purse for her card to tag off, the doors closed on her and the bus drove off! hate to think what it will be like when several people are getting off at the same time. The lack of online top ups at launch is also very disappointing. No way I’m making a special trip to a retailer to top up my card. I’ll be boycotting HOP till online top ups are available.

  33. John Little says:

    My two daughters catch the same school bus, but only one of their hop cards has money on it. Can they use the same card on the same trip? They often did with the Go card.

  34. Pete says:

    John, if you ask the driver before you tag on, you should be able to pay for 2 with your hop card

  35. Phil says:

    RE using HOP on trains, I see that tag posts are being rolled out. If gates are only going to be installed at Britomart and Newmarket, how will the system work to ensure people use the tag posts to tag on? At my local station for example, it would be very easy to jump the fence and be on the other side of the tag posts.

  36. AKT says:

    @Phil There will still be people on the trains keeping an eye out for such fare evaders. If they leap off the train without tagging off but have tagged on at their berthing station they will be penalised next time they use the card as happened to someone on my bus this morning.

  37. Doloras says:

    ” I’ll be boycotting HOP till online top ups are available.”

    Translation: “I’ll be paying all my bus fares with cash and pissing off the long queue of HOP-carrying customers behind me, just to prove a point.”

  38. Rosie says:

    I’m boycotting hop cards as I’m frustrated at the whole thing.
    Ever since I got the card I always hold on to the card when I’m on the bus so I don’t forget to tag off. I swear to God I never forgot to tag off, but I got a penalty twice.
    I can’t ask anyone for help or complain to anyone as they all just say u should make sure the beep noise comes on and it did, but I still got a penalty.
    I hate how I can’t relax after a long day work and not worry about tagging off.
    I hate how when I just miss a stop I have to pay an extra stage even when it means I have to walk all the way back.
    Also about the tagging on for friends, some bus drivers say u can, some say u can’t.
    I hate having to go an extra stage to town if I want to top up. I hate having to pay $0.25 ever time I top up.
    (I don’t like topping up too much incase I lose my wallet. Which means, unlike eftpos or bus cards, the thief can get their hands on anything not just bus fares)
    I hate not being able to top up by stages and I’m hating the whole system.
    I am going to pay by cash like all my friends have decided to do after gathering all of our complaints.

  39. Vicky says:

    HOP card is HOPless!

    my child and her friends had troubles with the card since the beginning.
    She, as Rosie said, swears she tags off the bus, and hears the beep sound, however the bus did not recognise this event and put a lock on the card because it assumed she took the trip to the end of the line and therefore the card is owing money.

    I had to leave work to go and pick her up from the school, now I am told that to “unlock” the card I have to put more money on the card even if she has many rides left on it. I don’t think this is fair, for a child working out they have 3 rides left is better than calculating the remaining fares off the money value.

    Also, there is no way to know how many rides are left, the bus is supposed to give you a warning when you have 7 or less rides left, which is no use for a parent . I was told that not showing the rides left is for security/privacy reasons, so that another person near where you tag off cannot see your “business”. This may be true, but how about showing the rides left on the website, in the privacy of your own home?

    At the moment, I have to see in the history of the card, when it was charged and the number of trips taken from that date to come up with that figure.
    By the way , the system is not real time, you can see the trips only the day after it occurred, so if there is a problem with the system not recording the tagging off you won’t know until the next day (i.e. when your child has left to go to school!)

    Come on, there must be a better way!!!! This system is pathetic

  40. Karl says:

    Vicky, some of those issues may be fixed once the swap to the “real” HOP system occurs. The current one is just Snapper in drag.

  41. AnotherKarl says:

    The better half Hopped last Thursday, and again yesterday. As of this morning, the figure shown prior to last Thursday’s trip has not altered. I suppose it will match her actual card data, eventually.

    Thumbs up to those paying cash, even if you are “pissing off the long queue of HOP-carrying customers” behind you. Carry on, good people.

    I do enjoy seeing people using the various options available to them.

  42. Owen Thompson says:

    Just use cash, with the added benefit of no electronic records detailing your PT usage.

  43. Matthew says:

    My experience has been appalling so far:

    - Tagging off causes queues to exit the bus now. Great.

    - Tried to tag off two days ago and the machine kept saying “Please try again” over and over, as everyone else was waiting for me, I had to get off. I’ve been charged $5.04 as a penalty. Great.

    - Ringing up customer service.. they say “as a goodwill gesture” they will refund it. Such goodwill going around :)

    - Not being able to top up on the bus or through the website is incredible poor.

    - Being CHARGED a fee to top up is just OUTRAGEOUS

  44. Andrew says:

    My wife and I personally have had no problems with HOP.

    I’ve been watching people who have had problems, and, sorry, it often looks to be because they’ve done something wrong. On the occasion when it’s not been the passengers, it’s been the driver, such as when he sets the system up for the next run before he’s finished the current one, and passengers are yet to tag off.

    In nearly all cases, it’s a matter of education.

    Could the people complaining how bad the system is verify that they really do hold the card STILL against the reader until the reader responds?

    I’m seeing heaps of people try to swipe, swoosh, or even wobble(why?!) the card past the reader, which is guaranteed to fail. Please people, swiping is for cards with magnetic strips. If you haven’t noticed, HOP cards do not have magnetic strips.

    Others touch briefly then pull away before the beep. Forgivable, because the Snapper system is a little slow, but the instructions are clear: wait for the reader to respond (ie, the green circle) before pulling your card away.

    I’ve seen several people swoosh their card past the reader, it fails with “Please try again” which they ignore and just leave the bus. That’s a penalty fare.

    Lately I’ve taken to sitting by the back door to help out, and on several occasions have helped people tag off when they’ve been stuffing it up. Funny how they’re surprised when it works the first time they do it properly…

    @Jon: Perhaps a blog post with instructions on how to tag on and off properly? :)

  45. penis says:


  46. Duncan says:

    You’ve mentioned 130 outlets to buy a hop card, how about listing them. How about being able to purchase one on a train? The only place I’ve seen selling them is at the train station when you have to queue for ages. How about selling them on the trains? Christ, they’ve put people on the moon and I can’t get a HOP card!


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