Zon­ing sys­tem ‘sim­pler’

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By KA­RINA ABADIA

TRAVEL zones are set to re­place stages on Auck­land buses and trains in a move to sim­plify the sys­tem and en­cour­age peo­ple to pay by AT HOP card.

The ma­jor­ity of card users will pay less or the same amount for their travel un­der the new Sim­pli­fied Zone Fare sys­tem, AT Metro gen­eral manager Mark Lam­bert says.

‘‘Ninety-six per cent of all AT HOP card users will have ei­ther the same fare to pay, even though they are po­ten­tially tak­ing dif­fer­ent modes, or they will have a fare re­duc­tion.’’

The cur­rent sys­tem is too com­pli­cated and in some cases re­sults in dif­fer­ent fares for sim­i­lar trips, he says.

‘‘What we’re propos­ing is you can travel through any num­ber of zones us­ing up to three bus or train trips to com­plete your jour­ney and you’ll only be charged the one fare. Some big win­ners will be peo­ple trav­el­ling across the isth­mus, he says.

For ex­am­ple, the 007 bus ser­vice from Pt Che­va­lier to Glen Innes is pro­posed to fall within a sin­gle zone.

‘‘When you travel across the city, but maybe don’t go through the in­ner city where there’s higher con­ges­tion, we think you should pay less.’’

But be­cause of a cur­rent anom­aly, Orakei train users will see their fares go up.

The one-stage train trip cur­rently costs $1.70 from Orakei Sta­tion to Brit­o­mart. The bus trip, which is two stages, costs $3.

Un­der the pro­posed sys­tem, Orakei will fall within the bound­aries of a two-zone fare, which is priced be­tween $3 and $3.30.

That dis­ad­van­tages users go­ing north to the city but peo­ple trav­el­ling south be­tween Orakei and Otahuhu will ben­e­fit from trav­el­ling within just one zone.

The price dif­fer­ence be­tween pay­ing in cash and by card will also in­crease.

At the mo­ment us­ing the AT HOP card is 20 to 25 per cent cheaper. Un­der the new sys­tem there will be a dis­count of up to 33 per­cent.

The goal is to get as many peo­ple us­ing the AT HOP card as pos­si­ble, Lam­bert says.

‘‘It cer­tainly re­duces the dwell time for buses if peo­ple are sim­ply swip­ing their card as op­posed to rustling around try­ing to find cash.’’

A sin­gle all-day pass for all zones will cost $18 and a monthly pass will be from $200 to $210.

Phase two of the pro­posal will look at in­tro­duc­ing an AT HOP card daily spend cap and po­ten­tially mov­ing to­wards a cash­less bus sys- tem, Lam­bert says.

Puke­ta­papa Lo­cal Board mem­ber David Holm said last year that an ex­act change or cash­less sys­tem would dis­ad­van­tage some mem­bers of the com­mu­nity ( Cen­tral Leader, Oc­to­ber 17).

He is pleased the pro­posal has been put on hold and, if im­ple­mented, won’t come into ef­fect un­til at least 2016.

‘‘Peo­ple should be able to catch a bus and use cash.

‘‘We can make ex­cep­tions for things like ex­press buses be­cause peo­ple are in a real hurry at the peak hour.’’

Peo­ple with limited English lan­guage skills would find the card sys­tem con­fus­ing and school stu­dents can’t top up eas­ily, Holm says.

‘‘Our board has sug­gested that one of the big cam­puses, like the Mt Roskill cam­pus, which ser­vices pri­mary, in­ter­me­di­ate and sec­ondary schools, might be a good place to put an out­let,’’ he says.

The pro­posed Sim­pli­fied Zone Fare sys­tem is out for public con­sul­ta­tion un­til June 5 and is ex­pected to be im­ple­mented in mid-2016.

Mead­ow­bank train sta­tion.

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